MANILA, Philippines – Setter Joyme Cagande and spiker Princess Robles will both sit out National University's (NU) campaign in the UAAP Season 82 women's volleyball tournament.
Libero Jennifer Nierva confirmed the development on Wednesday.
Cagande, who suffered a knee injury in their very first game of Season 81, unfortunately sustained another injury recently that will force her to miss yet another year.
Meanwhile, Robles, the league's sixth leading scorer in Season 81, encountered an eligibility issue when she failed to enroll in NU's first term, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Both Cagande and Robles were incoming sophomores.
But Nierva said the Lady Bulldogs have already adjusted to these early setbacks.
"We're lucky na bago pumasok sa season, 'yung mga nangyari -- like si Joyme, hindi makakapaglaro -- nangyari na," she said. "So, nag-adjust lahat, ginawa agad 'yung adjustments, paano namin mabubuo 'yung team na wala na sila."
They are counting on rookie setter Renee Mabilangan to take Cagande's place in the starting six, along with Chinnie Arroyo, another promising freshman. NU will also feature a Congolese spiker in Margot Kabasu in their line-up.
Moreover, the Lady Bulldogs welcomed back middle blocker Risa Sato – and Nierva said her presence is already a massive advantage for the young team.
"Once na sinabi na si Ate Risa 'yung captain ball, right away, she showed up in training and then she embraced the captain role," said Nierva. "After that, lagi, every single training, she will remind us na we're doing this because we want to be a champion."
"Makikita mo talaga na very skilled si Ate Risa. And, kasi si Ate Risa, siya 'yung nagse-set ng standard talaga sa training namin," she added.
The Lady Bulldogs are trying to barge back into the Final 4 after missing out last season. They placed sixth in Season 81 with a 4-10 win-loss record.
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