Lady Spikers face early test in Lady Tams
Mark Escarlote on Feb 02, 2016 05:14 PM
Far Eastern University's Bernadeth Pons and De La Salle's Ara Galang will try to carry their respective squad to an opening day win in the 78th UAAP women's volleyball tournament.
De La Salle’s road to redemption starts Wednesday highlighted by the return of top hitter Ara Galang when the Lady Spikers take on the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws in the 78th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Opening serve is slated at 4:00 p.m. and will air live over ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23, ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD Channel 166 and via livestream at sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/uaap..
Galang suffered a left knee anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, a big bone bruise, a medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear and a medial meniscus tear injury in the Lady Spikers’ campaign in the semifinals last year against the National University Lady Bulldogs. DLSU advanced in the championship round for a fourth straight showdown with Ateneo de Manila but without the leadership and offensive firepower of Galang, the Lady Spikers were easy picking for the Lady Eagles and failed to regain the crown they lost against the same opponent in Season 76.
The change of schedule of the event benefited Galang’s recovery but her return to her explosive and dangerous form for her final tour of duty for the Taft-based squad is yet to be seen.
During the offseason, the Lady Spikers joined several tournaments in preparation for UAAP including a successful title campaign in the Intercollegiate Cup. Most of DLSU’s stars also competed in the Philippine Superliga for Meralco under head coach Ramil de Jesus.
However, DLSU will be playing without Desiree Cheng as she is still recovering from a left knee injury she suffered in an exhibition game last June.
The good news for Lady Spikers fans, most of last year's core will return while former Rookie of the Year Mika Esperanza is also back in the fold after skipping Season 77 because of injuries on both knees for a last hurrah.
Beach volleyball champions Kim Fajardo and Cyd Demecillo with fellow graduating teammate middle blocker Mika Reyes, vastly improved Mary Joy Baron, Kim Dy, Carol Cerveza and Eli Soyud are expected to step up to bring back the squad’s lost glory.
But the Lady Spikers will face an early test against the Lady Tams.
FEU is also parading an almost intact lineup with only Geneveve Casugod, Yna Papa and Tin Agno leaving the team after exhausting their playing years.
Bernadeth Pons, Remy Palma, Jerrili Maabanan, Toni Basas will be head coach Shaq Delos Santos’ main offensive weapons with playmaker Gyzelle Sy steering their attacks in her return after sitting out the previous season because of injury.
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