Volleyball: UST goes for "Five" at Shakey's V-League

October 6, 2009 10:58 am 

Games Sunday

2 p.m. – UST vs Adamson <br>4 p.m. – FEU vs UP

MANILA, Oct. 6 (PNA) — Women's volleyball takes the spotlight again beginning Sunday as the second conference of the Shakey's V-League Season 6 unwraps with University of Santo Tomas kicking off its "drive for five" against title contender Adamson University at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Tigresses outfoxed the San Sebastian Lady Stags in sudden death to capture this year's first conference crown, their fourth as they became the winningest team in the country's premier women's volleyball league sponsored by Shakey's Pizza and organized by Sports Vision.

Tournament commissioner Tony Boy Liao admitted the Tigresses remain to be the team to beat, although he’s not discounting the likes of Far Eastern University and San Sebastian.

“These are the teams to beat. They’re always considered as contenders,” said Liao, appearing in Tuesday's PSA Forum at the Shakey’s UN Avenue branch together with Sports Vision’s Moying Martelino and Ricky Palou and Shakey’s executive Vic Gregorio.

Ateneo, Lyceum, College of St. Benilde, University of the Philippines and Adamson make up the eight-team cast that will play a single round-robin elims, with the top six advancing to the quarters.

Carrying over their respective win-loss records, the six teams slug it out in another round-robin series with the top four advancing the Final Four of the tournament backed by Mikasa, the official volleyball, and Accel, the official outfitter.

The No. 1 team plays No. 4 while the Nos. 2 and 3 squads slug it out in separate best-of-three series for berths in the championship, another best-of-three affair.

Liao said an invitation for the RP women’s team bound to the Laos Southeast Asian Games to play in the quarterfinals had already been extended to the Philippine Volleyball Federation.

“This serves as tune up matches for the national team to the SEA Games. We’re just awaiting the response of the volleyball federation,” Liao added in the session sponsored by Shakey’s, Accel, Outlast Battery and PAGCOR.

Unlike in past Shakey’s V-League stagings, however, each team will only be allowed to tap one guest player following a directive from the volleyball federation disallowing members of the national team training for this year's SEA Games from playing in any league or tournament until after the biennial games.

With just one guest player per team, the fight for the second conference crown is tipped to go down-to-the-wire with emphasis now more on each school's mainstays than the reinforcement.

UST, to be led by Aiza Maizo, Judy Caballero, Ange Tabaquero, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan and guest player Rox Pimentel, opens its title campaign at 2 p.m against Adamson, one of the top contenders with a talent-laden crew that includes Jill Gustilo, Pau Soriano, Angela Benting and Tatan Gata.

FEU, with Rachel Daquis, Anne Taganas, Shai Gonzalez, Numay Vivas and April Jose at the helm, takes on a UP side composed of Angeli Araneta, Denise Data, Joyce Palad, Cathy Barcelon, Eileen Quejas and guest player Merichelle Tagudin, at 4 p.m.

A heavy three-game bill is set in the second playdate on Oct. 13 with Adamson squaring off with Lyceum at 2 p.m. and Ateneo-OraCare battling UP at 4 p.m. UST meets another tough contender in Far Eastern U in the 6 p.m. main game.

Like in the first conference, matches will have a live webcast on www.v-league.ph with NBN-4 to air the games on a delayed basis from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

While UST remains the early favorite, others teams have shored up their rosters in a bid to contend for the crown. These include San Sebastian led by Mari Pepito, Elaine Cruz, Bonsai Mirasol and Joy Benito; St. Benilde led by Giza Yumang, Trina Maranan, LC Quemada, Ren Agero and Katty Kwan;, and Lyceum, bannered by Igay Artates, Joy Cases, Joan dela Pena and Gelic Alcantara.

But Ateneo-OraCare looms as the team to watch with an almost intact roster that includes Bea Pascual, Ave Paje, Kara Acevedo, Dzi Gervacio, Jem Ferrer, Fille Cainglet and guest alumna Charo Soriano. (PNA)<br>vcs/LOR

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