Ateneo de Manila University sets out for the first time without Alyssa Valdez as it faces Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) today in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The Lady Eagles have opted not to tap the former two-time tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP) and three-time University Athletic Association of the Philippines MVP as guest player and will instead stick it out with the core that will do battle in the UAAP wars next year.
“The team has decided to just tap Alyssa (Valdez) as member of the coaching staff because we want the players seeing action in the UAAP to toughen up and gain experience,” said Ateneo team manager Tony Liao.
That leaves the cudgels to Bea de Leon, Kim Gequillana, Jhoana Maraguinot, Julia Morado, Gizelle Tan, Ana Gopico and a comebacking Michelle Morente, who will test the mettle of the Lady Engineers in the featured 6 p.m. duel.
But while Ateneo chose not to tap guest players, TIP made use of it and tapped former De La Salle University star and Laoag Power Smashers setter Chi Saet and Adamson standout Mylene Paat as reinforcements.
Meanwhile, College of St. Benilde tries to flex its muscle as it tangles with Far Eastern University (FEU) in the other match at 4 p.m.
The Lady Blazers, who beat the San Sebastian Lady Stags for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) crown last year, will be led by NCAA Finals MVP Jeanette Panaga although their champion squad have been decimated by the graduation of a number of players.
“It will be tough,” said St. Benilde coach Michael Carino, whose wards will be facing a solid FEU squad bannered by battle-scarred Bernadeth Pons, Mary Joy Palma and Toni Rose Basas.
University of the Philippines swept San Beda while San Sebastian repulsed Perpetual Help in four in Saturday’s opener.
In the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Collegiate Conference, University of Santo Tomas squares off with National College of Business and Arts at 11 a.m. while National University collides with FEU at 1 p.m.