School pride, volleyball supremacy on the line in ‘Battle of the Rivals’
The Battle of the Rivals: The Lady Eagles vs. The Lady Spikers is happening in a few days’ time and ticket sales have been brisk as can be seen in the event’s official ticket vendor (smtickets.com). VIP (P2000) and Patron (P1500) seats at the SM Mall of Asia Arena are already sold out with only a few Lower Box (P750) and a handful of Upper Box (P350) seats still available.
The July 16 event, presented by Rebisco Foundation, Inc., pits the best and finest players from past La Salle and Ateneo women’s volleyball teams who have competed against each other in six straight UAAP finals and have built a solid rivalry and following in the eight-member league.
De La Salle University, mentored by 10-time UAAP championship coach Ramil de Jesus, will count on his past players to show that the Taft Avenue still has the upper hand against their Katipunan-based opponents. Leading RDJ’s squad are UAAP Season 74 and 75 co-MVP Aby Maraño, Season 75 co-MVP Ara Galang, three-time UAAP Best Setter (76, 78-79) Kim Fajardo, and UAAP Finals MVPs Michelle Gumabao (75) and Cha Cruz (73 and 74).
Rounding out the roster are Season 67 and 68 Best Setter Chie Saet, crowd favorite Mika Reyes, open hitters Cyd Demecillo and Steph Mercado, and “The Ninja” Melissa Gohing. It will be interesting to see what the La Salle starting six looks like, given the collection of talent, skill, and competitiveness de Jesus has in his arsenal.
Cohesion and chemistry would not be a problem for the Green and White squad as Maraño, Galang, Fajardo, and Cruz all play for de Jesus-mentored F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL), while everyone on the roster knows RDJ’s system inside-out given the multi-titled coach’s 20-year tenure in DLSU.
The Lady Eagles, two-time UAAP champions and last year’s losing finalists, will count on their three-time UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez (76-78), Season 77 Finals MVP Amy Ahomiro, Season 77 Best Setter Jia Morado, Dennise Lazaro, Ella de Jesus, Michelle Morente, Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, and current players Maddie Madayag, Bea de Leon, and Jhoanna Maraguinot.
Although this is a charity game, the Lady Eagles might treat this game with a vengeful approach as their Taft-based counterparts have had their number in the past two UAAP women’s volleyball finals.
Given the Lady Spikers’ firepower, a three-set sweep might not be surprising, although a five-setter would surely give the fans their money’s worth. With school pride, competitiveness, and oneupmanship on line, expect the DLSU six to display their “beast mode” from the get go.
Gates open at 1:00PM, while the main game is scheduled to start at 4:00PM. The delayed telecast of game will be shown on ABS-CBN S+A on July 23.
Animo La Salle!
Note: Proceeds from the event are for the benefit of Rebisco Foundation Inc. scholars and the De La Salle and Ateneo scholarship foundations.
Cha Cruz (Open)
Cyd Demecillo (Open)
Kim Fajardo (Setter)
Ara Galang (Open)
Michele Gumabao (Opposite)
Melissa Gohing (Libero)
Aby Maraño (Middle)
Steph Mercado (Open)
Mika Reyes (Middle)
Chie Saet (Setter)
Coach: Ramil de Jesus
Amy Ahomiro (Middle)
Fille Cainglet-Cayetano (Open)
Ella de Jesus (Open/Libero)
Bea de Leon (Middle)
Dennise Lazaro (Libero)
Maddie Madayag (Middle)
Jhoanna Maraguinot (Open)
Jia Morado (Setter)
Alyssa Valdez (Open)
Coach: Tai Bundit