FRESH from an improbable title run in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, Ateneo goes for another crown against several UAAP rivals, top NCAA teams and three provincial squads in the First Conference of the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 starting on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan City.
Season and Finals MVP Alyssa Valdez, Denden Lazaro, Jia Morado, Michelle Morente and Ella de Jesus will banner the amazing Lady Eagles, who turned back thrice-to-beat La Salle to give Ateneo its first ever UAAP volleyball title.
However, it will be a different battle in the V-League where teams are allowed to field two guest players.
La Salle will not be seeing action in the V-League — it has not fielded a team in the tournament in a while — but Ateneo will again be facing National U, considered its current main rival in the commercial league.
NU ended Ateneo’s run of two straight V-League titles in last season’s First Conference, but the Lady Eagles managed to overcome the Lady Bulldogs’ twice-to-beat advantage in the recent UAAP semis.
Also looking to steal the show are UAAP semifinalist Adamson, University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University, NCAA champion Perpetual Help, San Sebastian, College of St. Benilde and Arellano University, Cebu’s Southwestern University, St. Louis University of Baguio and the Davao Lady Agilas from Mindanao.
The Lady Eagles last won a V-League title in the First Conference crown they won in Season 9.
Shiela Pineda, Pau Soriano and Mayette Zapanta will lead Adamson’s bid for a second crown after winning in Season 5, while San Sebastian also looks formidable with a team built around the power-hitting Gretchel Soltones, Czarina Berbano and Ara Mallare.
Perpetual Help will pin its hopes on Royse Tubino, Collen Bravo and Jane Diaz while St. Benilde also hopes to come out with a strong performance behind Janine Navarro and Therese Veronas, so do Arellano U behind MJ Ticar, Mechie Tubiera and CJ Rosario.
The league’s new season will formally be launched Tuesday during the PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
Matches will be aired on GMA News TV on a delayed basis.