• UST eyes No. 3, solo lead vs BaliPure

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    Pocari Sweat’s Breanne Mackie hammers in a kill against Air Force’s Judy Ann Caballejo during their Shakey’s VLeague Reinforced Conference clash at the Philsports Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Pocari Sweat’s Breanne Mackie hammers in a kill against Air Force’s Judy Ann Caballejo during their Shakey’s VLeague Reinforced Conference clash at the Philsports Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    University of Santo Tomas braces for a tougher challenge in its bid to nail a third straight victory as it faces a debuting BaliPure side even as University of the Philippines tries to rebound against Coast Guard in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig today.

    The Tigresses, priming up for the UAAP wars, pulled off back-to-back victories despite playing with an all-local crew, surprising Open Conference runner-up the Air Force Jet Spikers in last week’s inaugurals of the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s and then sweeping the Lady Dolphins.

    But the EJ Laure-led team, the winningest in the country’s premier women’s volley with six championships, will have its hands full against BaliPure, which remains solid despite the departure of its former ace for another team.

    The Ateneo-backed Water Defenders have actually tapped Suzanne Roces to anchor their campaign with the former league MVP expecting to draw solid back from the likes of Amy Ahomiro, Bea Tan, Mae Tajima, Dzi Gervacio, Ella de Jesus, Jem Ferrer, Dennis Lazaro and Charo Soriano.

    That should make the 6 p.m. duel worth watching with Laure also boasting of a reliable crew composed of the power-hitting Carla Sandoval, Marivic Meneses, Chloida Cortez, Shannen Palec and the comebacking Pam Lastimosa.

    The match will be aired live over ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23 with the Coast Guard-UP clash at 4 p.m. to be shown on a delayed basis. Both matches can also be viewed live via streaming on www.v-league.ph, according to the organizing Sports Vision.

    BaliPure, third placer in the Open Conference of the league backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter, actually is reinforced by two imports but Kaylee Manns and Katharine Morrell remain doubtful pending the release of their International Transfer Certificates.

    Thais Kanjana Kuthaisong and Nattanicha Jaisen failed to secure their ITCs in time and missed Customs first two games but with Alyssa Valdez at the helm, the Transformers toppled the Lady Maroons and the Laoag Power Smashers to gain an early share of the lead with the Tigresses.

    Meanwhile, the Lady Maroons seek to rebound from their opening game setback as they take on the Lady Dolphins who are out to check their early two-game slid in the first game at 4 p.m.

    In the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Reinforced Conference, Champion Supra clashes with Instituto Estetico Manila at 12:30 p.m.

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