Lady Eagles kick off bid vs Lady Bombers
After losing two vital cogs, Ateneo hopes it still has enough tools for a title run as the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference gets going Saturday.
“Like any other team, our goal is to win the championship,” said new Ateneo team captain Bea De Leon. “We’ll just do our best every game.”
The Lady Eagles, who will play minus star setter Jia Morado and key spiker Michelle Morente, kick off their bid versus Jose Rizal University at 6:30 p.m. at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Morado opted to forego her final playing year, while Morente also left Ateneo.
Arellano and St. Benilde clash in the other women’s game featuring two NCAA champions at 4 p.m.
Jovielyn Prado banners the Lady Chiefs, who bagged the NCAA crown last season after dethroning the Lady Blazers in the Final Four.
Regine Arocha, who saw action for the Power Smashers in the recent PVL Reinforced and Open Conferences, also hopes to beef up the Lady Chiefs’ bid along with Andrea Marzan, Anne Esguerra, Rhea Ramirez, Necole Ebuen and libero Faye Flores.
Leading the Lady Blazers’ charge are Marites Pablo, Angela Enginco, Diane Ventura, Chelsie Umali, Ranya Musa and setter Pauline Cardiente.
The tournament also serves as a collegiate preseason build up for the 12 women’s teams and 10 men’s squads.
La Salle and St. Benilde open men’s action at 10 a.m., followed by the 1 p.m. match between University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas.
Ateneo and JRU lead Group A that also includes National University, the winner of the last two collegiate V-League titles. San Sebastian, Lyceum and Far Eastern University round out the group.
Joining St. Benilde and Arellano in Group are University of the Philippines, Technological Institute of the Philippines, San Beda and Adamson.
The top two teams in each group after the single-round eliminations will advance to the crossover Final Four. The finalists will battle in a best-of-three series. —JASMINE W. PAYO
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