SAN Sebastian shoots for the solo lead as it clashes with defending champion National University in a duel of two fancied teams in the Shakey's V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference on Wednesday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Spearheaded by Open Conference and NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones' 20-point explosion, the Lady Stags downed the Perpetual Help Lady Altas, 27-25, 25-22, 25-22, in Saturday's opener to seize the early lead in Group A.
Unheralded Technological Institute of the Philippines, third placer in the NAASCU league, joined SSC in the win column after it pulled the rug from under an injury-hit Ateneo side, 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-12, late Monday night.
Soltones will have her hands full against the Lady Bulldogs, who beat the Lady Eagles to win this championship last year and are boasting of Jaja Santiago and an emerging setter in Jasmine Nabor.
"We all know NU is tough," said the 20-year-old Soltones. "But we will go out there and give it our best and enjoy the game."
Gametime is at 6 p.m. after the 4 p.m. clash between a debuting University of Santo Tomas and San Beda. Both matches will be aired live over ABS-CBN Sports + Channel 17 or 23.
In the Spikers' Turf Season 2 Collegiate Conference, powerhouse Ateneo launches it title-retention bid as it takes on San Beda at 12 noon while Perpetual Help battles newcomer Phl Merchant Marine School at 10 a.m.
Interestingly, both SSC and NU are coached by Roger Gorayeb, who has let his assistants, Clint Malazo of the Lady Stags and Edjet Mabayyad of the Lady Bulldogs, take charge temporarily while he’s on vacation.
Unlike last year when it tapped Rubie de Leon and alumna Dindin Santiago-Manabat as guest players, NU decided to play with the same players it will field in the coming UAAP season set early next year.
Myla Pablo, the Finals MVP last year who recently powered Pocari Sweat to the Open Conference crown of the league where it all started, has also graduated, leaving Jorelle Singh, Aiko Urdas and Fil-Japanese rookie Raisa Sato as the core of the UAAP squad.
"This is a young team and this conference will serve as a test for everyone," said Mabayyad, who steered NU to the Open Conference title three years ago.
Meanwhile, the Tigresses, mentored by Kungfu Reyes, set out against the Red Spikers with a talented core led by sisters EJ and Eya Laure and the diminutive but talented Sisi Rondina.
SSC 1 0
TIP 1 0
Perpetual 0 1
Ateneo 0 1
NU x x
FEU 1 0
UP 1 0
SBC 0 1
St. Benilde 0 1
UST x x
(Philsports Arena, Pasig)
10 a.m. – Perpetual vs PMMS (S Turf)
12 noon – Ateneo vs San Beda (S Turf)
4 p.m. – San Beda vs UST (V-League)
6 p.m. – NU vs SSC-R (V-League)