Ateneo de Manila University will begin its title-retention bid on Sunday when the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament unfolds at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Eagles battle the National University Lady Bulldogs on the opening day at 4 p.m. while season host University of the Philippines (UP) takes on University of the East (UE) in the other interesting match up at 2 p.m.
Valdez, a two-time Most Valuable Player, will be getting support from middle hitters Amy Ahomiro and Bea de Leon, open spiker Joanna Maraguinot, and veteran setter Jia Morado.
NU, on the other hand, has 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago, power-hitting Myla Pablo and Jorelle Singh, playmaker Ivy Perez and libero Bia General.
For its part, UP is now a Final Four contender as it parades a strong lineup this season led
by returning Katherine Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon, and promising rookies Isa Molde, Justine Dorog and Diana Carlos.
They will be up against a rejuvenated UE side mentored by former men’s national head coach Francis Vicente.
The Lady Warriors will rely on holdovers Shaya Adora¬dor, Jasmine Alcayde and Angelica Da¬caymat, and sopho¬mores Judith Abil, Kathleen Arado, Roselle Baliton and Laizah Bendong.
In the men’s division, Ateneo opens its back-to-back title bid against University of Santo Tomas (UST) at 10 a.m. while Far Eastern University (FEU) faces UP at 8 a.m.
After the opening day, women’s action resumes on February 3 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City with UST battling Adamson University at 2 p.m. and former champion De La Salle University taking on FEU at 4 p.m.
The much-anticipated Ateneo-La Salle game will be on February 27 at 4 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum.
Games on Sunday
8 a.m. – FEU vs UP (Men)
10 a.m. – Ateneo vs UST (Men)
2 p.m. – UP vs UE (Women)
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs NU (Women)