Action in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 resumes on Saturday with the Collegiate Conference featuring teams gearing up for their respective varsity leagues clashing in what promises to be another thrilling mid-season offering of the country’s premier women’s volley league.
National U sets out to defend the crown it won over Ateneo via sudden death last year but eight other teams are bringing in souped-up rosters, guaranteeing a slam-bang action in the two-month tournament sponsored by Shakey’s for the 13th straight year.
Lanky Jaja Santiago, the UAAP Season 78 best spiker, will banner the Lady Bulldogs’ title-retention bid along with Fil-Japanese recruit Risa Sato, Jasmine Nabor, Joy Doromal, Aiko Urdas, Gayle Valdez and Jorelle Singh, while the Lady Eagles, now without former ace Alyssa Valdez, who has graduated, will pin their hopes on Jhoanna Maraguinot, Kim Gequillana, Bea de Leon, Ana Gopico, Julia Morado and Michelle Morente.
But the eight other teams are raring to prove their worth, including reigning NCAA champion St. Benilde, vastly-improved University of the Philippines, many-time NCAA titlist San Sebastian College, Technological Institute of the Philippines, University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta, Far Eastern University, San Beda College and many-time V-League titlists University of Santo Tomas.
UP and San Beda kick off hostilities at 4 p.m. while SSC and Perpetual tangle in the 6 p.m. main game to be shown live over ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23.
Meanwhile, 12 teams are vying in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Collegiate Conference with St. Benilde leading Group A that includes La Salle, FEU, NU, Philippine Merchant Marine School and Perpetual and Ateneo, Emilio Aguinaldo College, National College of Business and Arts, San Beda, UP and UST making up Group B.
St. Benilde and La Salle tangle in the opener at 11 a.m. while UP and EAC collide at 1 p.m. which can be viewed live via screening on www.v-league.ph.
The organizing Sports Vision expects a fierce battle in all matches in the V-League, the tournament, backed by Mikasa as the official ball and Accel as official outfitter, being a single round robin elims with the field split into two groups. The top three will then advance to the carryover quarterfinals with the top four moving into the semis.
The No. 1 will meet the No. 4 squad while the No. 2 and 3 teams will dispute the other finals berth in a pair of best-of-three series.
The chase for berths in Group A is tipped to go down-to-the-wire with NU, Ateneo, SSC, TUP and Perpetual it the fold and St. Benilde, FEU, San Beda, UP and UST making up Group B.
The Lady Blazers, led by reigning NCAA Finals MVP Jeanette Panaga, are expected to be one of the favorites after coming out of nowhere to top the NCAA last season but should find rough opposition against the Lady Maroons, who came a win away from making the semifinals of the Reinforced Conference just a few weeks ago.
UP has emerged as a legitimate title contender under coach Jerry Yee, who boasts of talented players in Kat Bersola, Isa Molde and Justine Dorog.
Gretchel Soltones, fresh from snaring the MVP trophy in the Reinforced Conference, will lead a San Sebastian squad that is ripe for a championship after a pair of finals stints in the NCAA.
(Ynares Arena, Pasig)
4 p.m. – UP vs San Beda
6 p.m. – San Sebastian vs Perpetual