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Mapua debuts with a bang


Games today:

(San Andres Gym)

7:30 a.m. — EAC vs JRU (m)

10 a.m. — EAC vs JRU (w)

2 p.m. — Letran vs Arellano (w)

5 p.m. — Letran vs Arellano (m)


Mapua University showed resolve in achieving its goal of a podium finish after it walloped a jittery San Sebastian College, 25-20, 25-23, 25-18, Tuesday in NCAA Season 99 women’s volleyball at the San Andres Gym in Manila.

Talented sophomore Roxie dela Cruz unloaded a match-high 18 points she laced with 16 attacks while Raissa Janel Ricablanca and Freigh Anne Garcia, rookie sensations out of University of the East, made a loud introduction by scattering 13 and 11 points, respectively.

The Lady Cardinals thus seized an early share of the lead with opening day winners University of Perpetual Help System Dalta and three-peat-seeking College of Saint Benilde.

But more than the power-hitting Dela Cruz’s statistical impact, it was her mentoring of Ricablanca and Garcia that Mapua coach Clarence Esteban loved the most.

“She’s showing maturity beyond her age. It’s like she’s not just a sophomore,” said Esteban of Dela Cruz, who was pivotal in the team’s Final Four finish last year.

“She guides our team and I’m grateful for that.”

With an almost intact roster and the arrival of their super rookies, the Lady Cardinals appeared headed to finally bringing home a trophy after falling short a season back.

The Roger Gorayeb-mentored Lady Stags, for their part, just didn’t have the net and floor defense and couldn’t sustain their attacking game to challenge the Lady Cardinals.

Meanwhile, last year’s runner-up Lyceum of the Philippines University turned back San Beda University, 25-17, 13-25, 25-15, 25-21, to likewise post its first win of the season.

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