With intact core, Arellano Lady Chiefs look to extend reign in NCAA women's volleyball
Regine Arocha and the Lady Chiefs eyeback-to-back titles. Kiev Iz Kresta

ARELLANO University begins its title-retention bid against Mapua, while last year’s losing finalist San Sebastian parades a revamped squad when it faces off with Emilio Aguinaldo at the start of the women’s division of the 93rd NCAA volleyball tournament on Jan. 4 at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.

The Lady Chiefs will be playing almost the same cast that won last year’s championship headed by Regine Anne Arocha, Necole Ebuen, Andrea Marzan and Jovielyn Grace Prado as they battle the Lady Cardinals at 1:30 p.m.

Considered as the underdogs after finishing second after the elimination round, AU defied the odds and beat San Sebastian, which swept its way straight to the finals.

In contrast, San Sebastian lost Soltones, the league’s three-time MVP, and several key players and will be using the minimum nine-player line up that includes Premier Volleyball League veterans Alyssa Eroa, Vira May Guillema, Joyce Sta. Rita and Dangie Encarnacion.

Julie Ann Tiangco, who is expected to take on a bigger role following the departure of the veterans, hurt her knee in the offseason.

“For different reasons, half of my players from last year are gone. Now I just have to make the most out of the remaining players and hope for the best,” said SSC coach Roger Gorayeb.

The SSC-EAC duel is set at 12 p.m.

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