UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas braces for a tougher challenge in its bid to sustain its perfect start as it faces a debuting Bali Pure side even as University of the Philippines tries to rebound against Coast Guard in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig on Saturday.
Priming up for the UAAP wars, the Tigresses pulled off back-to-back victories despite playing with an all-local crew, surprising Open Conference runner-up Air Force in last week’s inaugurals of the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s, and then went on to sweep the Lady Dolphins.
But UST, the team with the most titles (6) in the country’s premier women’s volley league, will have its hands full against Bali Pure, which remains solid despite the departure of its former ace Alyssa Valdez for another team.
The Ateneo-backed Water Defenders have tapped Suzanne Roces to anchor their campaign with the former league MVP expecting to draw solid support from the likes of Amy Ahomiro, Bea Tan, Mae Tajima, Dzi Gervacio, Ella de Jesus, Jem Ferrer, Denden Lazaro and Charo Soriano.
The 6 p.m. duel is worth watching with EJ Laure leading a reliable crew composed of the power-hitting Carla Sandoval, Marivic Meneses, Chloida Cortez, Shannen Palec and the comebacking Pam Lastimosa.
The match will be aired live over ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23 with the Coast Guard-UP clash at 4 p.m. to be shown on a delayed basis. Both matches can also be viewed live via streaming on www.v-league.ph, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
Bali Pure, third placer in the Open Conference of the league backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter, is actually reinforced by two imports but setter Kaylee Manns and outside Katharine Morrell remain doubtful pending the release of their International Transfer Certificates.
“We are very disappointed for experiencing problems with our American imports. We have learned the Bali Pure’s account in the Volleyball Information System has been changed and has affected the status of our imports for our match against UST,” said team manager Gil Cortez.
“We have complied with the necessary work permit and paid all the fees to facilitate this. That this is happening to several clubs is no coincidence. We ask that LVPI (Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc.) investigate this immediately. All we want to do is play volleyball,” he added.
Thais Kanjana Kuthaisong and Nattanicha Jaisen also failed to secure their ITCs in time and missed Customs first two games but with Valdez at the helm, the Transformers toppled the Lady Maroons and the Laoag Power Smashers to gain an early share of the lead with the Tigresses.
Meanwhile, the Lady Maroons seek to rebound from their opening game setback as they take on the Lady Dolphins, who are out to check their early two-game slide in the first game at 4 p.m.
In the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Reinforced Conference, Champion Supra clashes with Instituto Estetico Manila at 12:30 p.m.
Teams W L
UST 2 0
Customs 2 0
Air Force 1 1
Laoag 1 1
Pocari 0 1
UP 0 1
Coast Guard 0 2
BaliPure x x
Games on Saturday
12:30 p.m. – Champion vs IEM (S Turf)
4 p.m. – Coast Guard vs UP (V League)
6 p.m. – UST vs BaliPure (V League)