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Lady Bulldogs face stern test

Retooled University of the East gets an acid test in a showdown against defending champion National University in the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SSL

Games today:

(Filoil EcoOil Centre)

11 a.m. — Saint Benilde vs Letran

2 p.m. — EAC vs vs FEU

5 p.m. — UE vs NU

Reigning champion National University plunges into its highly-anticipated debut against the retooled University of the East in the second week of the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship Season 2 Saturday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Game time is at 5 p.m. for the main event of the triple-header action in Pool A as the Lady Bulldogs test the mettle of the new-look Lady Warriors led by super rookie Casiey Dongallo.

NU has a bevy of multiple international stints representing the country to bank on aside from being the defending champion after sweeping the inaugural SSL season last year, making it the undisputed heavy title favorite once more.

But the Lady Bulldogs remain wary of the young and hungry Lady Warriors, who smothered Jose Rizal U, 25-14, 25-21, 25-19, in the opener of the SSL.

“I think the game will be very exciting for everyone as UE is making a new name in the UAAP (Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines). They’re doing great. We want to show them what we learned from the national team and what we can do as a team here,” said new Lady Bulldogs skipper Erin Pangilinan.

Both squads will parade new coaches as Norman Miguel returned to the NU head coaching post while Jerry Yee, concurrent mentor of the College of St. Benilde in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, transitioned to UE after a historic stint with Adamson.

And while the Lady Warriors boast youth firepower with Dongallo, the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball Invitational Most Valuable Player last summer, at the helm — the lethal duo of Alyssa Solomon and Mhicaela Belen are more than capable of holding the fort.

Solomon was the inaugural SSL MVP while Belen was the first-ever Rookie-MVP in UAAP women’s volleyball in Season 84.

“We are the ones adjusting and we will do our best to polish what we’ve learned,” Pangilinan added.

Meanwhile, back-to-back champion College of Saint Benilde also begins its redemption bid against Colegio de San Juan de Letran (0-1) at 11 a.m. in Pool C after a stunning quarterfinal exit in the SSL National Invitationals featuring champions from all over the country.

At 2 p.m., Far Eastern U (1-0) shoots for a second straight win against the debuting Emilio Aguinaldo College in Pool D to complete the triple-header of SSL Season 2 in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education and the Philippine Sports Commission.

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