National University Bulldogs will defend their crown in the men’s division of the 82nd University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) volleyball tournament under a new format.
The Bulldogs, coached by national mentor Dante Alinsunurin, will share the spotlight with the Ateneo Lady Eagles when action starts this Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
That’s because organizers will be adopting a new program format for each game day, and it will not be like in previous seasons.
In previous years, the men’s games were played in the morning while the women’s contests were held in the afternoon.
This time, game days will have an alternating men’s and women’s program.
“This is the start. That’s why players will have to show their best,” said Bulldogs coach Dante Alinsunurin, who mentored the national men’s team to the 30th Southeast Asian Games crown, alongside the national women’s squad.
Alinsunurin talked about the Bulldogs during yesterday’s launch of senior division second semester competitions at the Mall of Asia Arena, starting with the volleyball games.
The silver medal won by the Philippine men’s team in volleyball has inspired organizers to change the format of the competitions this year.
As for the Bulldogs, a 12-day training stint in Japan has kept them prepared for the coming season.
National players Bryan Bagunas, Madz Gampong, Francis Sauro, Kim Malabunga and Jann Ancheta have graduated, leaving remaining veterans Joshua Retamar and Ricky Marcos behind.
Retamar and Marcos, who are still members of the national team, are expected to provide leadership for the team when action begins this weekend.
The Bulldogs are set to clash with the Adamson Falcons at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
“All the seniors have graduated. But, we have replacements for them,” said Alinsunurin.
In the women’s division, rookie Faith Nisperos, who moved over from NU, will debut for the defending titlist Ateneo Lady Eagles in their quest to keep their crown this season.
Nisperos will have her first game when the Lady Eagles clash with La Salle at 4 p.m., also slated on Sunday.
She is a two-time Season MVP and two-time Finals MVP in the UAAP girls’ volleyball division.
What will make the games more interesting this season is the use of the video challenge.
UAAP president Em Fernandez of host Ateneo said the new system will help enhance the level of play and follow the international standards of the sport
“The SEA Games was an eye opener for all of us. That’s why we want to highlight both the men’s and women’s division. During the SEA Games, we also saw the challenges that were implemented. We will also implement the challenge system during this year,” stated Fernandez.
University of the East and University of the Philippines will meet in the men’s and women’s game starting at 9 a.m. this Saturday.
Then, University of Santo Tomas battles Far Eastern University in men’s and women’s matches beginning at 2 p.m.
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