Defending champion National University tests Technological Institute of the Philippines’ mettle as they clash for the Group A lead today even as University of the Philippines seeks its second straight win in Group B against winless St. Benilde in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The Lady Bulldogs rallied to beat the San Sebastian Lady Stags, 25-22, 29-27, 25-21, last week and are fancied to get past the Lady Engineers in the featured 4 p.m. encounter in the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
TIP surprised Ateneo, 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-12, last week but will need a lot of effort, plus luck, to surprise the Jaja Santiago-led squad.
Santiago unleashed a 27-hit effort, including 20 attack points, four blocks and three aces while Jasmine Nabor dished out 50 excellent sets and chipped in two points against the Gretchel Soltones-powered SSC side in a pair of strong efforts that impressed the NU coaching staff.
“They did well and we hope they sustain their form,” said NU assistant mentor Edjet Mabbayad, taking over in the absence of head coach Roger Gorayeb.
Still, the Lady Engineers are out to surprise not only the Lady Bulldogs but the entire field in the tournament backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter as they try to make an impact on a team built around Eunice Mabayao, Gayle Layug, Eden Maturan, Sheena Espinosa and skipper Sheeka Espinosa and reinforced by former Adamson star Mylene Paat and veteran setter Relea Saet.
Meanwhile, the Lady Maroons likewise try to keep in step with idle UST as they face the embattled Lady Blazers at 6 p.m. Both matches will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 17 and 23 and via streaming on www.sports.abs-cbn.com.
UP ripped newcomer San Beda, 25-20, 25-17, 25-20, with Isa Molde leading the charge with 15 hits and Mae Basarte, filling in for Jewel Lai who has transferred to St. Benilde, came through with 39 excellent sets.
The Lady Blazers, on the other hand, dropped their first two games, including a 20-25, 17-25, 27-25, 17-25 setback to the Tigresses last Saturday, although the reigning NCAA champions remain upbeat of their chances against the Diliman-based squad.
Meanwhile, UP takes on NCBA at 10 a.m. while Philippine Merchant Marine School clashes with NU at 12 noon in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Collegiate Conference.