Despite leaning on a nine-woman rotation, the Smart-Maynilad tossers overwhelmed Far Eastern University in straight sets, 25-16, 25-5, 25-19, during the opener to share the early lead with Meralco.
And even with a short-handed team, coach Roger Gorayeb is confident with the talent he has right now.
“Wala naman sa dami 'yan ang importante 'yung puso nasa paglalaro," he said.
Alyssa Valdez is expected to finally suit up for Smart-Maynilad and team up with Charo Soriano, Sue Roces, Gretchel Soltones, Maru Banaticla, Mica Guliman, Jem Ferrer, and veteran setter Rubie de Leon.
“Wala pa, 'yan pa lang sila talaga. Mag-a-antay pa ako ng ibang darating,” Gorayeb added.
Smart-Maynilad battles PNP at 2 p.m. with the Lady Patrolers hoping to bounce back from a heartbreaking five-set loss to Meralco, 25-17, 17-25, 21-25, 25-15, 15-9.
Meanwhile, making their debuts in the 4 p.m. main game are Cagayan Province and Philippine Air Force.
Former University of Santo Tomas spikers Aiza Miazo and Angge Tabaquero together with Sandra delos Santos, Joy Benito, Bhebs Pineda and ace libero Jheck Dionela will spearhead the campaign of the Lady Rising Suns.
Air Force, on the other hand, will be bannered by former Tigresses Maika Ortiz, Judy Ann Caballejo and Rhea Dimaculangan, along with Liza de Ramos, Joy Cases, Iari Yongco, and Jen Manzano.