Southwestern University tries to bounce back from a straight-set setback to a surging Arellano University as it tangles with a debuting Saint Benilde side even as Perpetual Help and San Sebastian College clash in a duel of the reigning and former NCAA champions in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference at The Arena in San Juan today.
The Lady Cobras outlasted the St. Louis University Lady Navigators in a thrilling five-setter on March 25 but got swept by the Lady Chiefs two days later, dropping to joint third with the Adamson Lady Falcons in Group A of the two-division tournament featuring a record 12 teams.
But the Cebu-based champion squad, led by team captain Neresa Villanueva, Marlyn Llagoso, Sheena Quino and Janelle Cabahug, will be facing a Saint Benilde squad raring to make a strong impact on a team built around skipper Therese Veronas, Janine Navarro and former stalwarts now guest players Rossan Fajardo and Iumi Yongco.
Gametime is at 2 p.m.
Perpetual Help and SSC provide the other explosive action with both teams out to rebound from stinging setbacks they suffered from Group B leaders National U and Far Eastern U. The defending champion Lady Bulldogs dominated and swept the Lady Altas while the Lady Tams blasted the many-time NCAA titlists Lady Stags in four sets last week.
That makes their 4 p.m. encounter doubly interesting with the Las Piñas-based team expected to pin its hopes on veterans Honey Royse Tubino and Norie Dias and the Lady Stags tipped to draw the best from top hitter Gretchel Soltones and Czarina Berbano and guest players Maruja Banaticla and Ryzabelle Devanadera.
A pair of thrilling five-setters marked the start of Week 2 of the country’s premier women’s volley league, where it all started, with NU repulsing UST and the Lady Chiefs stunning the UAAP champion Lady Eagles to grab the early lead in their respective groups with 2-0 slates.
The short, single round robin elims format makes each game important with the top four from each side of six teams advancing to the quarterfinal round of the season-opening tournament of the league backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil in another single round robin affair. The top two teams will clash in the crossover semifinals with the winners disputing the crown.