Lst year’s finalist Perpetual Help heads into battle fully prepared as it faces College of St. Benilde at 2 p.m. in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 95 women’s volleyball tournament tomorrow (Friday) at Fil Oil Flying Centre in San Juan City.
Coach Macky Cariño is optimistic that his wards are now battle ready when they face his former squad, the Lady Blazers, whom them beat in the playoffs last season.
Meanwhile, the Lyceum of the Philippines University Lady Pirates of Intramuros, Manila will challenge defending champion Arellano Lady Chiefs in the 12 noon game.
Cariño, who will get help from assistant coach Marcelo Joaquin Jr., will parade five graduating tossers and six holdovers from last year’s line up to go with three rookies coming from the Perpetual Help pool.
He will rely on Team Captain Shyra Umandal and Charina Scott as the middle blockers, Bicolana Jonah Rosal and Dana Persa as opposite hitters, libero Allysa Sanggalang and setter Jenny Gaviola to fill the post left by Necelle Gual, who finished her playing year with the Lady Altas, together with Cindy Imbo, now in the Philippine Navy, Jowie Verzosa and Hershey Llorente.
Ranked no. 4, Lady Altas entered the finals after defeating Lady Blazers twice in the semis last season, 23–25, 21–25, 25–20, 23–25 and 25–17, 27–29, 19–25, 26–24, 16–14.
The Tony Tamayo-owned learning institution in Las Piñas won Game 1 in the Finals (21–25, 25–17, 25–21, 25–20) against Arellano University, but lost the next two games (23–25, 25–9, 25–18, 22–25, 15–12 and 25–22, 15–25, 18–25, 18–25) to settle for runner-up honors.
“We are now in final stage of our training to face Lady Blazers in the opening match, ito ‘yung aming battery test, kung matibay ang team ko,” said Cariño.
The Lady Altas won the crown in 2012, 2013 and 2014 during the era of Royce Tubino, April Sartin, Jane Diaz, Sandy delos Santos, Janice Abar, and libero Jheck Dionela.