MANILA, Philippines – Arellano University seeks to jumpstart its title-retention bid as it clashes with Mapua University in Day 1 of the NCAA Season 93 women's volleyball tournament on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Meanwhile, San Sebastian College opens the post-Grethcel Soltones era against Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC).
The Lady Chiefs are parading an almost intact line-up, spearheaded by Jovielyn Prado and Regine Arocha, when they tangle with the Lady Cardinals at 1:30 p.m.
The Lady Stags, for their part, will play the whole season with just nine players. They take on the Lady Generals at 12 noon.
Arellano completed a magical season in 2017, defying the odds by beating San Sebastian three times in the finals to claim their second NCAA title in three years.
The tables have turned this time around as the Lady Chiefs are the favorites while the Lady Stags are groping for form following the loss of Soltones, the three-time NCAA MVP. To make matters worse for San Sebastian, Julian Tiangco – one of the players expected to step up this year – suffered a knee injury ahead of the tournament.
Thus, San Sebastian coach Roger Gorayeb is relying on veterans Alyssa Eroa, May Guillema, Joyce Sta. Rita, and Dangie Encarnacion.
But despite the short-handed line-up, he remains upbeat of their chances. "We’re still a fighting team but we have to avoid injuries," said Gorayeb.
Gorayeb also said they have moved on from last year's heartbreak.
"That’s already a thing of the past and we're already looking at the future," he said. "In fact, after this year, we have four or five recruits coming in and we expect them to really make a significant impact on the team right away."
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