MANILA, Philippines - General championship front-runner University of Santo Tomas (UST) spikes for supremacy anew as it begins its title defense in the 73rd UAAP volleyball tournament which unfurls on November 27 at the San Juan Arena.
The España-based spikers debut with a pair of season openers against Ateneo de Manila University even as “new-look” National University (NU) takes on De La Salle University (DLSU) and Far Eastern University (FEU) in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.
Parading an intact roster led by Finals MVP Henry Pecaña, JP Torres, and Jayson Ramos, the Tigers hope to reassert their might against the Eagles and open their four-peat campaign on a winning note.
Ateneo though will have to make do sans Season 72 MVP AJ Pareja, who has played out his eligibility for the Eagles last season.
UST swept FEU in the best-of-three Finals last season to cop its 17th title.
In the distaff side, the Tigresses will try to offset the departure of open-hitter Angeli Tabaquero when they collide with a deeper and more experienced Lady Eagles bannered by holdovers Fille Cainglet, Gretchen Ho, Angeline Gervacio, and Jamenea Ferrer.
Fueling the Tigresses’ back-to-back title drive are veterans Aiza Maizo, Maika Ortiz, Season 72 Finals MVP Rhea Dimaculangan, and sophomore Maruja Banaticla among others.
Like their male counterparts, the Tigresses also broomed their Finals series against La Salle to capture their 14th diadem.
Also figuring on opening day are La Salle scoring machine Chris Macasaet who is expected to lead the Archers along with a slew of reliable sophomores.
The Lady Tamaraws are expected to return with Season 72 MVP Cherry Mae Vivas, Monique Tiangco, Wenneth Eulalio and the comebacking Micha Morada. Fronting the Lady Bulldogs' offense are Maricar Nepomuceno and Mervic Mangui.
Day 2 of first-round action pits University of the East (UE) against Adamson University, and FEU versus University of the Philippines in the men’s bracket.
Rounding up the women’s match-ups are the Lady Maroons and the Lady Falcons who will face the Lady Warriors and the Lady Archers, respectively.