(Filoil Flying V Centre)
12 noon – SSC-R vs. EAC (W)
2 p.m. – Arellano vs. Mapua (W)
AFTER steering Arellano University to its second NCAA women’s volleyball crown in three years, coach
Obet Javier was already thinking about what lies ahead.
Almost 11 months later, the future is now for the Lady Chiefs.
“Ngayon pa lang, kami sa Arellano, lagi naming tinitingnan ‘yung mga susunod na taon,” said
Javier after his team upended fancied San Sebastian in the Finals. “So matagal na kami naghahanda.”
With a beefed-up roster, Arellano opens its title-retention campaign against Mapua University
at 2 p.m. today at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
While the Lady Chiefs looked formidable, this cannot be said on the Lady Stags, who will
parade with a league minimum of nine players -- with seven available to boot.
San Sebastian ushers its post-Grethcel Soltones era as it plays Emilio Aguinaldo College in
the curtain raiser at 12 noon.
The opening day games, as well as the semifinals and Finals, will be aired live on S+A
Arellano is tipped to win behind last year’s Finals MVP Jovie Prado, Regine Arocha, Andrea
Marzan, Anne Esguerra, and setter Rhea Ramirez.
Based on their performances in the off-season leagues, the Lady Chiefs’ became deeper with
the entry of newcomer Necole Ebuen as well as new liberos Faye Flores and Cherry Ann Buemia, who will
fill the void left by Eunice Galang and Jonalyn Ibisa.
With a fighting crew led by senior Alyssa Eroa, Joyce Sta. Rita, Nikka Dalisay, Dangie
Encarnacion and Vira Guillema, coach Roger Gorayeb remained confident of the Lady Stags chances of
making it to the Final Four despite a shorthanded roster.
“We’re still a fighting team but we have to avoid injuries,” said Gorayeb.
San Sebastian has already moved on from last year’s heartbreak.
“That’s already a thing of the past and we’re already looking at the future,” said Gorayeb.
“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.”
Ranged against the defending champions, the Lady Cardinals hope to make an impact in their
rare national TV appearance.
For veteran Kat Racelis, Mapua is determined to erase its image as perennial also-rans.
“Yes, it will change. We will be stronger. And we will not give up easily,” said Racelis.
“Our goal is to never give up in what we love to do which is playing volleyball and we will play
stronger for our school this upcoming season.”
The Lady Generals, meanwhile, made a coaching change with Rod Palmero, who handled their
men’s volleyball squad to a championship three years ago, taking over from Leo Rivera in the off-