Arellano U jumpstarts repeat bid
Defending champion Arellano University takes on Mapua University in its NCAA Season 93 women's volleyball competition debut Thursday.
(FilOil Flying V Arena)
8:00 a.m. -- SSC-R vs EAC (jrs)
9:30 a.m. -- SSC-R vs EAC (m)
11 a.m. -- Opening Ceremony
12 noon -- SSC-R vs EAC (w)
1:30 p.m. -- AU vs MU (w)
3:00 p.m. -- AU vs MU (m)
Arellano University begins its repeat bid Thursday when the Lady Chiefs cross paths with Mapua University in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The reigning champion Lady Chiefs will parade an almost intact lineup and will have the advantage of firepower with their veterans against the Lady Cardinals, who went winless last season.
Game time is at 1:30 p.m. after the San Sebastian College and Emilio Aguinaldo College tussle at 12:00 noon. The women’s games will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream.
The opening ceremony is scheduled at 11:00 p.m. after the juniors game between SSC-R and EAC at 8:00 a.m. and their men’s teams’ showdown at 9:30 a.m.
Arellano U closed Season 92 with 12 straight wins including the shocking Finals sweep against the thrice-to-beat and then Grethcel Soltones-led Lady Stags to claim its second title since winning it all back in Season 91.
The Lady Chiefs lost Rialen Sante and libero Eunice Galang after they graduated last season but the Obet Javierp-mentored squad will still have a lethal crew with the return of Jovielyn Prado, Mary Anne Esguerra, seasoned setter Rhea Ramirez, Andrea Marza and Regine Arocha.
Arellano U will also try to ride the momentum of their breakthrough third place finish in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference a couple of months back to open its title-retention bid on a high note.
While the Lady Chiefs are enjoying the luxury of a solid lineup, SSC-R is looking at a rough road ahead after the departure of three-time Most Valuable Player Soltones and another veteran Kat Villegas.
The Lady Stags have the shortest rotation in the field with only nine players.
Head coach Roger Gorayeb will rely heavily on his veteran holdovers Joyce Sta. Rita, libero Alyssa Eroa, Vira Guillema and Nikka Dalisay to carry the fight for the Lady Stags.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles