CENTRAL Visayas gets the first crack at the fancied Victoria team from Australia today, while defending champion Hope Christian High School of NCR-West kicks off its title-retention drive against Mindanao in the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball Tournament-of-Champions at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Represented by Southwestern University, Central Visayas hopes to neutralize the taller, talent-laden Aussie squad in the featured 4 p.m. encounter in the 10-team, six-day tournament featuring the top finishers in various regional eliminations.
The Hope tossers, meanwhile, face stiff challenge from the Mindanao side bannered by power-hitters from Davao City National High School at 5 p.m. while NCR-South, bannered by Colegio San Agustin players and backstopped by two Angelicum mainstays, tangle with Central Luzon composed of stalwarts of Angeles University Foundation and Holy Angel University at 2 p.m.
Two other matches are on tap at the start of the single-round elims divided into two groups, with the top two from each side advancing to the cross-over semis. The winners will dispute the crown in the event presented by Shakey’s and organized by Metro Sports.
Western Visayas, represented by Central Philippine University, squares off with Northern Luzon, composed of Baguio City National High and St. Louis bets, in the 1 p.m. opener, while Central Luzon caps its two-game sked against Southern Luzon, represented by De La Salle-Lipa, at 6 p.m.
While the Hope tossers, winners of eight of 10 NCR crowns in the event sponsored by Toby’s Sports, Mikasa as official ball, Tune Hotels as official residence of T-of-C, Asics and Volley Prep as chief backers, remain the top contender for the crown, the Aussies have been billed as the team to beat owing to their crack roster, composed of Kat Janssen, Kate Hutchinson, Lucy Konjarski, Katie Bacon and Eloise Leidle and setters Nikita Peril and Letitia Sindt along with Lucy Boyes, Hannah Wright and Tayla Mangles and liberos Vivien Maslov and Mikayla Faltyn.