Lady Spikers begin title repeat bid vs. Lady Tams
Mark Escarlote on Feb 05, 2017 08:16 AM
Reigning champion De La Salle University face an early challenge in its back-to-back bid against Far Eastern University.
Defending champion De La Salle University opens its title-retention bid with an early test of character against Far Eastern University in a rematch of last year’s semifinals showdown Sunday in the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Big Dome.
Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live over ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23 and ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream.
The Lady Spikers face a tough challenge this year to defend the crown it took away from archrival Ateneo de Manila, which held the throne for two years. First of those hurdles is a rematch with FEU, which forced DLSU to a Final Four series decider before advancing to its ninth straight Finals appearance.
Graduating setter Kim Fajardo and last season’s Finals Most Valuable Player Kim Dy carry the burden of spearheading a team severely missing the veteran presence of Ara Galang, Mika Reyes and Cyd Demecillo -- their key players last year.
Dy and Fajardo assume the role of leaders to a team with more than half of its lineup composed of freshmen and sophomores.
“Yes (kami ang leaders). He's mentioned that during tune-up games. Alam ko naman yung point niya kasi since kami yung naglaro last season, mas experienced kami and gusto niya na i-lead namin yung mga nasa loob,” said Dy of the task given to them by head coach Ramil De Jesus. “I think that's really what we need to do since marami ngang nawala rin na seniors. Kami nasanay kami na kami ‘yung sumusunod, ako, si Dawn (Mcandili), Ate Joy (Baron). And now kami na ngayon yung seniors, so we'll take on that role.”
Desiree Cheng makes her return to the Lady Spikers after missing last season because of a knee injury.
Meanwhile, the Lady Tams have an advantage with an almost intact roster with only grizzled setter Gyzelle Sy leaving the team after last season.
Kyle Negrito assumes her position as starting playmaker with veteran hitters Bernadeth Pons, Toni Basas, Heather Guino-o, Jerrili Malabanan and graduating middle Remy Palma around her as offensive options.
Palma, now on her fifth year, said that they do have an advantage with an experienced crew but DLSU is still a very dangerous team.
“S’yempre pare-pareho lang naman kaming nagte-training. Kumbaga, sa kanila din walang magiging dahilan (para matalo), kasi meron pa rin namang naiwan,” she said. “Sa amin, kung sinasabi nila na isa lang ang nawala sa amin, then gagamitin namin na advantage ‘yun.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles