Lady Eagles to train in Thailand, Japan for UAAP title bid
Mark Escarlote on Dec 12, 2016 06:28 PM
The Ateneo Lady Eagles are flying to Thailand and Japan to build up for the 79th UAAP women's volleyball tournament.
Ateneo de Manila University is heading to Thailand and Japan as part of the Lady Eagles’ build up for their bid to reclaim the crown in the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament opening on February 4.
The Lady Eagles left for Bangkok on Monday for a training camp where head coach Tai Bundit is expected to expose his team to different collegiate and club teams in Thailand.
Ateneo will return on the December 22 for the Christmas break but will again buckle down to training a day after the New Year. The Lady Eagles will fly to Osaka, Japan for their January 2 to 14 training.
Incoming fourth year player Jia Morado leads the squad in their international training stints with other returning key players Bea De Leon, Kim Gequillana and Jho Maraguinot as the Lady Eagles look to bring the title back to Katipunan after arch rival De La Salle dragged them off their two-year reign on the throne last April in a dramatic Finals best-of-three series that went the full distance.
Kat Tolentino and Michelle Morente who skipped last year’s UAAP wars due to knee injury and academic problems, respectively, will beef up Ateneo’s roster together with Ana Gopico and middle Maddie Madayag.
Gopico will make her comeback in the UAAP after going down with an anterior cruciate ligament tear midway in her rookie year back in Season 76. She reinjured her knee while looking to suit up the next season and again skipping Season 78. Madayag, who was having a good run in the first half of last season, went down with a right ACL injury last March during Ateneo’s training but is expected to slowly get back in form.
Also joining the team in the trip is rookie Jules Samonte. A recruit from De La Salle-Zobel, Samonte showed her brilliance together with Gopico and Morente in the Lady Eagles’ runner-up finish in the 13th V-League Collegiate Conference behind the 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago led National University.
These players are expected to fill up the void left by superstar Alyssa Valdez, Amy Ahomiro and Mae Tajima who all graduated after last season.
In Season 79, Bundit will be formally have beside him assistant coach Sherwin Meneses, who left his post as Adamson Lady Falcons’ tactician midway in Season 78.
Meanwhile, the three-peat-seeking Blue Eagles will also hold a training camp in Thailand from January 3 to 14.
“Basically training and tune up games,” incoming fourth year setter Ish Polvorosa told ABS-CBN Sports during the men’s basketball Finals Game 2 between eventual champion DLSU and Ateneo. “Mostly (ang mga makakalaban naming) puro mga club teams and mayroon ding mga collegiate teams.”
“After ng training namin sa Thailand, babalik kami dito for training for two to three weeks before ng UAAP,” he added.
Three-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo, Rex Intal, Josh Villanueva, Karl Baysa will return for another tour of duty with newcomer 6-foot-8 Russian-American Tony Koyfman also suiting up for Ateneo, which swept its way to the crown for the second straight year in Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference three months ago.
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