NU’s newcomers set to take spotlight in volleyball preseason tournament
MANILA, Philippines — National University seeks to strengthen its UAAP title-retention bid by showcasing its rookies in the Shakey’s Super League starting on September 22.
After the sudden ouster of NU’s players from the Philippine women’s volleyball team, reigning champion coach Karl Dimaculangan sees the return of the preseason league as an opportunity to become even better coming off a perfect UAAP Season 84.
“We are looking forward to fielding our new players so they will be able to adapt to our system in college. This is going to be good exposure for them,” Dimaculangan told Inquirer Sports.
“The Shakey’s Super League is exciting since we will face both UAAP and NCAA schools. It’s good to see a sense of normalcy with the return of the preseason tournament even we’re still in this pandemic.”
The Lady Bulldogs have incoming seven rookies, led by high school standouts Vange Alinsug and Shai Jardio, teaming up with rookie MVP Bella Belen, Season 84 Best Opposite Spiker Alyssa Solomon, Best Setter Lams Lamina, and Sheena Toring.
The school announced early this month that Finals MVP Cess Robles, libero Jen Nierva, Ivy Lacsina, and Joyme Cagande have committed to play one more year in Season 85.
Dimaculangan hopes to field all his players but his line-up still depends on the conclusion of their technical meeting with SSL. But the youthful coach’s priority is to expose his newcomers.
“I hope we can line up all our players for this tournament so we try different rotations every game. The seniors for Season 85 will also be included in the line-up. But we are really prioritizing to give exposure to our other players, especially the rookies,” he said.
“This is a chance for the whole team to have more playing time and showcase their talents and skills.”
NU, which had a masterful 16-0 season last June, is going to face runner-up La Salle and four other UAAP schools. The Lady Bulldogs will also compete against 10 NCAA schools, bannered by reigning champion College of St. Benilde, which swept Season 97.
After their championship run, the core of NU was called up to banner the rebirth of the women’s national volleyball team in the AVC Cup for Women from August 21-29.
But the 12 members of the Lady Bulldogs and Dimaculangan were suddenly ousted from the program by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation after the school management didn’t allow its members to play as the last-minute replacement for Kobe Shinwa University of Japan in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference due to injury concerns.
NU athletic director Otie Camangian, who attended the league launch on Tuesday, believes everything happens for a reason and he is looking forward to the young Lady Bulldogs’ progress in the SSL.
“I was formerly an athlete, a coach. Things happen for various reasons, but at the end of the day if you’re an athlete you will continue to be an athlete as long as you can play,” Camangian told the reporters. “If we’re seeing value in one tournament that will benefit our student-athletes then definitely we’ll always consider that. We in NU look at it as an opportunity to better improve our team, our respective student-athletes, and better improve our respective coaches.”
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