Defending champion De La Salle University and University of the Philippines (UP) gun for share of the lead when they play separate foes in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament today at The Arena in San Juan City.
La Salle faces University of Santo Tomas (UST) at 4 p.m. after the 2 p.m. game between UP and on University of the East (UE).
The Lady Spikers are coming off a hard-earned 29-27, 25-22, 25-23 win over Far Eastern University while the Lady Maroons posted an easy 25-18, 25-11, 25-18 victory against Adamson University in their respective opening-game matches.
La Salle and UP are sharing the No. 2 spot behind solo leader National University (2-0). The Lady Bulldogs notched their second-straight win at the expense of Ateneo de Manila University last Wednesday.
The Lady Spikers remain in full strength with the presence of veteran setter Kim Fajardo, who gained experience in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship, middle blocker Mary Joy Baron, Season 78 Finals Most Valuable Player Kim Dy and libero Dawn Macandili – all members of F2 Logictics that ruled the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference last year.
But UST will be a tough nut to crack as it parades a rock-solid lineup led by power-hitting open spikers EJ Laure and Cherry Ann Rondina, who played for the two-time PSL Grand Prix champion Foton last year.
Joining them in the frontline are vastly-improved middle blocker Ria Meneses, opposite hitter Chloe Cortez and comebacking Pamela Lastimosa as the Tigresses eye to bounce back from their 20-25, 21-25, 22-25 first-game loss to the Lady Eagles.
On the other hand, UP will be marching intact with Kathy Bersola, Diana Carlos, Isa Molde, Ayel Estrañero and Princess Gaiser against the young UE team bannered by skipper Shaya Adorador, Meanne Mendrez, Judith Abil and Roselle Baliton.