(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 a.m. – NU vs UE (Men)
10 a.m. – Ateneo vs UST (Men)
2 p.m. – NU vs UE (Women)
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs UST (Women)
The chase for the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball championship is too close to call, with six teams contending for the throne, which De La Salle currently holds.
The back-to-back seeking Lady Spikers lost Ar Galang and Cyd Demecillo, and middle blockers Mika Reyes and Carol Cerveza may have already completed their playing eligibility while Eli Soyud moved to another school. Still the Taft-based squad need not worry as veteran setter Kim Fajardo has decided to play for another year.
Kim Dy, last season’s Finals MVP, will banner De La Salle along with fellow key returnees Majoy Baron and libero Dawn Macandili, as coach Ramil de Jesus is bracing for a tough competition which it has not seen in recent years with some teams going outside the country for training and retooled rosters.
Ateneo, which won two titles behind superstar Alyssa Valdez, still has a solid core with Jho Maraguinot, Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag and setter Jia Morado leading the charge.
Michelle Morente returns after a one-year absence, while rookie Jules Samonte and Kat Tolentino will have a chance to shine for the Lady Eagles of Thai mentor Tai Bundit.
Far Eastern University remain one of major forces with Bernadeth Pons, Chin-Chin Basas, Remy Palma, Jerrili Malabanan, defensive specialist Buding Duremdes and new playmaker Kyla Atienza, who took over from veteran Gyzelle Sy.
The Lady Tamaraws nearly made it last year as the 29-time champions dragged the Lady Spikers to a deciding Final Four match before bowing.
After making it to the semis last year, University of the Philippines hopes to make it two in a row despite a stiff competition.
Aside from giving seniors Kathy Bersola, Nicole Tiamzon and Pia Gaiser a grand send-off, Isa Molde, Diana Carlos and Justine Dorog, gaining the needed experience from last season’s impressive run, will mature this time around for the Lady Maroons, while skipper Arielle Estrañero will take charge as the team’s new setter.