Please login using any of the following providers:

Depleted UST takes on UP

By Josiah Albelda Posted Dec 4th 2013

Carmela Tunay and the rest of the UST Tigresses make their UAAP Season 76 debut against the UP Lady Maroons.

Familiar faces are gone, but University of Santo Tomas' young guns are ready to slug it out as the Tigresses battle University of the Philippines in the 76th UAAP women's volleyball tournament Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

UST lost long-time vital cogs Judy Caballejo and Maika Ortiz to graduation and Maru Banaticla to the pro ranks and would have to make do with a lineup that features some promising belles.

"(Last season), we relied on names ng mga superstars," coach Odjie Mamon told UAAPSports.TV. "But this time around, mas mababalanse pa yung game naming."

Leading the Tigresses' attack are holdovers Mela Tunay, Pam Lastimosa and Jessey de Leon -- a trio of spikers who have shown flashes of brilliance in their stint in Espana.

Meanwhile, after just winning two of its last 28 games, the Lady Maroons have let the axe fall on ex-coach Jarod Hubalde's head, hiring multi-titled high school mentor Jerry Yee to direct traffic for UP.

Yee, who coached the National Capital Region to the 2013 Palarong Pambansa title, is expected to bring in the stability and training know-how as he bids to develop a potential-rich young squad into a formidable crew in a couple of years.

Scorer Angeli Araneta returns from a one-season absence to shore up the Lady Maroons' attack even as Yee will rely more on sophomore standout Kathy Bersola to deliver from the middle.

Rookies Nika Ong, who played for Yee in high school, Julie Calugcug, Alyssa Layug and Monica Ortiz will also help UP battle to end an almost three-decade title drought.

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