La Salle takes on Adamson in UAAP 76 volleyball opener
Season 76 volleyball opens December 1
MANILA -- Volleyball action in UAAP Season 76 kicks off December 1 with “four-peat-seeking” De La Salle taking on dark horse Adamson University in the 4 p.m. main game.
Last year’s runner-up, Ateneo, on the other hand, will be road-testing a rookie-laden roster opposite the Dindin and Jaja Santiago-led National University (NU) at 2 p.m.
The season openers will be staged at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The men’s hostilities will also start on the same day with reigning champion NU facing Season 75 third-placer De La Salle at 10 a.m. and last year’s second-placer Far Eastern University (FEU) battling No. 4 Adamson University in the first game at 8:30 a.m.
De La Salle will be opening its bid for a fourth-straight women’s title with a line-up that still looks invincible against an Adamson University side that finished third last season.
Despite losing Michelle Gumabao, who preferred to forego her final year of eligibility, and Wensh Tiu and libero Melissa Gohing, who have graduated, De La Salle remains the team to beat with Season 75 co-Most Valuable Players Abigail Maraño, and Ara Galang and Kim Fajardo.
But most of the attention is expected to go the Lady Bulldogs’ way with the presence of their dreaded twin towers—Dindin and Jaja Santiago—who stand six-foot-four and six-foot-five, respectively.
Dindin,19, and Jaja,17, made an immediate impact when they led NU to the crown in an off-season tournament earlier this year.
Ateneo, on the other hand, is not exactly expected to pose a major challenge with a line-up that is missing its Fab Five of Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio, Gretchen Ho, Jem Ferrer and Aillysse Nacachi, who all have consumed their eligibility in the league.
Power-hitting Alyssa Valdez is expected to carry on her shoulders an Ateneo side which is currently undergoing rigid training in Thailand.
Season host Adamson University, however, is bound to create its own noise. Known for its patented floor defense, the Lady Falcons will have Sheila Pineda, Marleen Cortel, Faye Guevara, Amanda Villanueva and Mayette Zapanta as front-liners.
Action resumes on December 4 at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan with the curtain-raiser between newly-crowned University Games champion University of Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines at 2 p.m., followed by the FEU-University of the East match at 4 p.m.
UAAP volleyball has been drawing the crowd with a record 19,638 fans in attendance for last season’s Ateneo-De La Salle finals showdown at the Mall of Asia Arena.