Lady Eagles open bid minus Valdez
ATENEO gets to test its strength minus volleyball star Alyssa Valdez as the Lady Eagles kick off their bid in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference Monday night.
Valdez—the three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player who just graduated from Ateneo—had been rumored to suit up as a guest player, but the Lady Eagles opted to stick to an all-varsity lineup.
The Lady Eagles take on a reinforced Technological Institute of the Philippines at 6 p.m. at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Reigning NCAA champion St. Benilde also clashes with Far Eastern University in the other match at 4 p.m.
The winners will join opening-day winners University of the Philippines and San Sebastian for the early lead.
“The team has decided to just tap Alyssa as a member of the coaching staff because we want the players seeing action in the UAAP to toughen up and gain experience,” said Ateneo team manager Tony Liao.
But the Lady Eagles still look very much a contender with a roster bannered by Jho Maraguinot, Bea de Leon, Julia Morado, Kassandra Gequillana, Gizelle Tan, Ana Gopico and the comebacking Michelle Morente.
The Lady Eagles face a beefed up TIP side, which tapped former La Salle standout and Laoag setter Chi Saet and Adamson standout Mylene Paat as guest players.
Behind Valdez, the Lady Eagles ruled the tournament twice.
The Lady Blazers, meanwhile, lost several players to graduation but still boast NCAA Finals MVP Jeanette Panaga in their fold.
“It will be tough,” said St. Benilde coach Michael Cariño as the Lady Blazers collide with a formidable FEU squad led by Bernadeth Pons, Mary Joy Palma and Toni Rose Basas.
The Lady Blazers stunned the Lady Stags for the NCAA crown.
In men’s action, University of Santo Tomas battles with National College of Business and Arts at 11 a.m., while National University tangles with FEU at 1 p.m. in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Collegiate Conference.
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