National University will have a lot of proving to do in pursuit of a victory against one of the new teams eager to show its potential as the Archipelago Builders face off with the Vanguard Volley Hitters in the second elims playdate of the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena Wednesday.
But the defending champions, who also clinched the V-League Collegiate crown late last year, will be hard-pressed to dish out their best without their former stars as Nico Almendras, Ave Retamar, Kennry Malinis and Michaelo Buddin will instead anchor the school’s campaign in the UAAP, which fires off next month.
That leaves holdovers Mac Bandola, Joseph Bello, Marco Maclang and Ahmad Abdul to carry the cudgels for the Builders in their 6 p.m. match with the Volley Spikers, who will be led by Vince Abrot, Joven Camaganakan, John Diwa, Razzel Palisoc and Romeo Teodones.
Air Force, meanwhile, seeks to mark its return to the league organized by Sports Vision on a winning mode as it takes on another newcomer in D’Navigators Iloilo at 4 p.m.
Three-time best setter Jessie Lopez and two-time league MVP Ranran Abdilla look to run it back for the Jhim Merza-coached Jet Spikers, who skipped the last Spikers’ Turf edition for the first time since 2015.
But the D’Navigators side is going all out to spring an early surprise with former Santa Rosa City standout Jade Disquitado anchoring the Iloilo-based rookie squad’s campaign in the 11-team tournament.
Games are telecast live on One Sports, One Sports+, Cignal Play, and SMART Live Stream.
Imus made a big league debut by beating Santa Rosa in four, while Army surprised Navy in a tough five-setter in Sunday’s inaugurals of the country’s first and only men’s volley league.