Alyssa Valdez hopes to come out strong coming off a long lay-off from competitive play as newcomer Bureau of Customs tangles with a vastly improved University of the Philippines side in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena today.
Valdez, widely regarded as the face of women’s volleyball, last saw action with BaliPure last July when the Water Defenders fell short of their bid against Michelle Gumabao-led Pocari Sweat squad in the semis of the Open Conference. The Lady Warriors went on to beat the Air Force Jet Spikers and clinch the championship on Pocari Sweat’s first stint in the country’s premier league sponsored by Shakey’s.
But Valdez, a former two-time league Most Valuable Player, has switched sides, signing up with Customs which she also hopes to steer to the championship on its maiden campaign in the league where it all started.
“It’s a new challenge and I know it’s going to be exciting. I’m looking forward to a healthy competition,” said Valdez, who will be clashing with her former teammates from Ateneo and BaliPure on October 12.
But she will have the Lady Maroons to contend with first as they face-off at 6 p.m. in what promises to be a slam-bang duel between two of the fancied teams in the import-laced conference of the league backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter.
Meanwhile, University of Santo Tomas tries to ride the momentum of their 25-15, 20-25, 25-13, 25-21 victory over Air Force last Saturday as it shoots for a second straight win against Coast Guard at 4 p.m.
The Lady Dolphins dropped an 8-25, 15-25, 16-25 loss to Team Laoag, also in last Saturday’s kickoff of the league’s third conference.
Meanwhile, Cignal and Instituto Estetico Manila collide in the lone Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Reinforced Conference match at 12:30 p.m.
Pau Soriano, the former Adamson hitter, has also joined Valdez at Customs, which also boasts of the likes of Lilet Mabbayad, Menchie Tubiera, Rizza Mandapat and Michito Castaneda with Thais Kanjana Kuthaisong and Natanicha Jaisen backstopping the squad.
But UP also has a slew of talented hitters in Kathy Bersola, Nicole Tiamzon, Diana Carlos, Justine Dorog, Isa Molde, Marian Buitre and setter Mae Basarte with the Diliman-based, which turned in a strong third place finish in the recent Collegiate Conference, also fielding in a pair of American reinforcements.