UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas begins its title-retention bid in the women’s and men’s division as the UAAP Season 80 beach volleyball tournament that blasts off today at the Sands SM By The Bay.
The Tigresses, gunning for a record fifth crown, will take on De La Salle at 3 p.m. before returning in the night session against National University at 7 p.m.
UST, which has three men’s championships along with Far Eastern University and NU, will set in motion its drive opposite University of the Philippines at 5 p.m.
Bannered by Cherry Rondina and Jem Gutierrez, the Tigresses needed three games to overcome the Lady Tamaraws’ Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza to reclaim the women’s throne last year.
UST’s KR Guzman and Anthony Arbasto ruled the men’s division by going perfect in nine games last season capped by a two-game Finals conquest of FEU’s Jude Garcia and Jeremiah Barrica.
Reigning MVP Rondina will lead the Tigresses, who will have the Pons-led Lady Tamaraws as their biggest threats.
From being Philippine teammates that made it to the quarterfinals in the recently concluded 29th Southeast Asian Games beach volleyball championship, Rondina and Pons will be rivals again.
FEU will take on Ateneo at 3:30 p.m., followed by NU-Adamson University at 4 p.m. and UP-University of the East at 4:30 p.m.
The Lady Tamaraws will be back in the evening session to face the Lady Maroons at 7:30 p.m., followed by the Lady Spikers-Lady Falcons tussle at 8 p.m. and the Lady Eagles-Lady Warriors match to cap opening day action at 8:30 p.m.
Other men’s opening day matches are FEU-NU at 5:30 p.m., Adamson University-De La Salle at 6 p.m. and Ateneo-UE at 6:30 p.m.