TWELVE teams, the biggest in league history, will battle for honors in the First Conference of the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 starting on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
The National University Lady Bulldogs banner Group B in the two-division format with the top from each side advancing to the quarters after the single round eliminations.
The eight teams will again be divided into two in another single round phase.
The top two squads from each side will then clash in a crossover semifinals with the winners clashing for the crown in a best-of-three showdown.
“This is going to be an interesting season. With so many teams wanting to join the league, we could only accommodate much to ensure a level playing field and equal exposure,” said Sports Vision president Ricky Palou.
NU, bannered by the Santiago sisters Dindin and Jaja and Myla Pablo, will be joined in by former champion University of Santo Tomas and fellow UAAP school Far Eastern U and NCAA teams San Sebastian College and Perpetual Help along with Davao’s Lady Agilas.
Ateneo, coming off a historic victory in the UAAP, leads Group A which also drew Adamson, Arellano, St. Benilde and provincial teams Southwestern University from Cebu and Baguio’s St. Louis University.
All teams have toughened up during the off-season although the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Eagles are the early hot favorites to lord it over their respective groups in the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
The league had a banner season last year with NU stopping Ateneo in sudden death to claim the first conference crown and Cagayan Valley beating Smart-Maynilad to bag the Open conference plum via a record 16-game sweep.
As in the past conferences, each team is allowed to field in two guest players although each squad is only allowed to tap in one foreign guest player.
Matches will be aired on GMA News TV on a delayed basis.
Ateneo will be bannered by UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez, Denden Lazaro and Rissa Sato, while Shiela Pineda, Pau Soriano and Mayette Zapanta will lead Adamson’s bid for a second crown after winning in Season 5.
San Sebastian also looks formidable with a team built around the power-hitting Gretchel Soltones, Czarina Berbano and Ara Mallare, while Perpetual Help will pin its hopes on Royse Tubino, Collen Bravo and Jane Diaz.
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.