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New-look Ateneo tests powerhouse NU

By Josiah Albelda Posted Nov 30th 2013

Two-time finalist Ateneo de Manila University begins life without the Fab Five as it takes on formidable National University.

Ateneo de Manila University begins life without its Fab Five as the Lady Eagles tackle powerhouse National University in the 76th UAAP women's volleyball tournament Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum. Game time is at 2 p.m.

The new-look Lady Eagles will still be with superstar attacker Alyssa Valdez, but for the first time in the last half-decade, would be missing Gretchen Ho, Fille Cainglet, Jem Ferrer, Dzi Gervacio and A Nacachi.

Ateneo would also be without ex-coach Roger Gorayeb, who has decided to focus on San Sebastian College after serving out his NCAA suspension.

Nevertheless, Lady Bulldogs coach Edjet Mabbayad isn't counting the Lady Eagles out.

"We take all teams seriously," the first-year women's head coach said. "We believe they're still strong and we prepared hard for them."

Mabbayad will be parading its twin towers of Dindin and Jaja Santiago, together with powerful spikers in Myla Pablo, Aiko Urdas and Mina Aganon.

If there's anything that Ateneo could take advantage of, it's the fact that NU's backrow defense will be anchored by sophomore Fatima General, who replaces the graduated Jen Reyes.

The game will air live over Studio 23, BALLS SkyCable HD 167 and with a same day replay at 9 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34 or Destiny Cable channel 36.