V-League Reinforced Conference fires off Saturday
Mark Escarlote on Oct 01, 2016 06:40 AM
Philippine Air Force faces University of Sto. Tomas in 13th Reinforced Conference opener.
The import-laden 13th V-League Reinforced Conference opens Saturday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City with four teams aiming to start their respective campaigns on a high note.
Philippine Air Force begins its title quest anew in the main game at 6:00 p.m. after the 4:00 p.m. curtain-raiser between returning Philippine Coast Guard and a new-look Laoag Power Smashers. The first game will air live via sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/vleague and at 8 p.m. on S+A channel 23 and S+A HD channel 166. The second game will air live on all three platforms.
The Lady Jet Spikers will parade an all-Filipino team but the Open Conference runner up is no pushover as Air Force will have its old hands on board.
“Siguro kahit wala kaming import, lalaban pa rin kami kasi matagal ng magkakasama ang mga ito,” said Lady Jet Spikers coach Jasper Jimenez.
Air Force will have the core of its AFP Olympics championship team led by Open Conference Best Setter Wendy Semana.
Towering 6-foot-3 Dell Palomata is also back in the fold as a regular member after signing up with Air Force. May Ann Pantino, Joy Cases, Jocemer Tapic and Judy Ann Caballejo will all be back for redemption after a painful Open Conference championship series loss to Pocari Sweat.
Standing on their way are the young but feisty Tigresses.
UST welcomes the return to action of team captain Pam Lastimosa after months of hiatus due to an ACL tear injury. Cherry Rondina, EJ Laure and Ria Meneses will back her up as the Tigresses are using this tournament as a gauge on which players will make the cut for the Espana-based squad’s team in the 79th UAAP.
“’Yung lineup namin is more on sa UAAP na ‘yun eh. Pipili kami rito kung sino yung mga pupuwedeng mag-fit in sa 14-man lineup sa UAAP at kung sino ang ibaba rin,” explained UST assistant coach Ian Fernandez.
Meanwhile, Open Conference fourth placer Laoag tests its new arsenal against Coast Guard, composed of draftees.
The Power Smashers made a recruitment coup by tapping Open Conference Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones and libero Alyssa Eroa from San Sebastian College and the National University duo of Jorelle Singh and Aiko Urdas who are fresh from claiming the Collegiate Conference title for the Lady Bulldogs.
“Mas bata at mas fighter itong nabuong team ko ngayon kahit pa wala kaming import,” said Laoag coach Nes Pamilar.
The Lady Dolphins overhauled its lineup with the core of last year’s squad undergoing military training.
Coast Guard tapped former Pocari Sweat players Hazel Mea and Maureen Loren to spearhead the young team.
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