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NCAA volleyball: Altas seek double championship

February 2, 2012 3:36pm
Games Friday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium
10 a.m. - EAC vs SSC-R (junior's finals)
2 p.m. - UPHSD vs Letran (women's finals)
3:30 p.m. - UPHSD vs SBC (men's finals)

Season general host University of Perpetual Help Lady Altas and last year's runners-up Letran College Lady Knights figure in a title showdown starting Friday in the women's division of the 87th NCAA volleyball tournament at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

Unbeaten in 13 games dating back from the elimination round, the Lady Altas are favored to get an early victory in their short best-of-three championship series..

Perpetual Help, under coach Mike Rafael, is seeking their first-ever women's crown and a first-ever Finals appearance since joining the league in 1984. The Lady Altas swept their elimination round and Final Four games, including a 25-16, 25-15, 25-19 victory over the Lady Knights in a no-bearing match last Friday.

On the other hand, the Lady Knights, who are back in the finals for the second straight year, will try their luck against a new opponent this season, after six-time champion and women's team San Sebastian College Lady Stags failed to make it to the championship round.

The Letran is trying to end a 12-year title drought since ruling the 1997-1998 season, their seventh overall crown.

Perpetual will again bank on spikers Sandra Delos Santos, Honey Royse Tubino, Norie Diaz and  Janice Abar,setter  Arianne Argarin and libero Angelique Dionela.

"Sana magtuloy-tuloy ang magandang ipinapakita ng mga bata. Hindi lamang sa physical pati sa mental aspect ng game," said Rafael.

Letran, meanwhile, will rely heavily on Manel Carolino, the younger sister of Michelle and  Mayette Carolino, who were both members of the Letran squad that won back-to-back titles in the 1998-1999 season, along with veteran setter Gena Andaya, Melissa Cu, Sarah Espelita, Angelica Santos and  libero Justyne Mae Tadeo.

"We will try to give our best to win the championship. Sana ipakita ng mga bata ang puso ng paglalaro sa finals," said Letran coach Brian Esquibel.

In men's action, the Sammy Acaylar-coached Altas aim to clinch a second straight and seventh overall crown, while the Red Lions seek their first ever men's title after finishing second to Letran twice in 2009 and 2010.

In the 10 a.m. curtain-raiser, the San Sebastian Staglets and the Emilio Aguinaldo College Brigadiers meet for the juniors crown. — AMD/JVP, GMA News
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