First impressions: How teams opened UAAP volleyball

The UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament is in full swing, with Ateneo, La Salle, UP and Adamson opening the competitions with wins. 

Here are our first impressions:

Adamson Lady Falcons

The Jema Galanza-led squad wowed the audience in their opening match against UST after defeating them in a tight five-setter game.

Their training in Thailand indeed boosted this team’s confidence, especially on offense. Their remarkable defense is a given, but the Falcons’ first game stunt showed that they have powerful attacks that other teams should watch out for.

The only thing lacking is more consistency with their middle blockers and their first line of defense.

Lastly, this team should lessen their errors, especially that they committed a total of 27 unforced errors against UST.

First-game stunner: Jema Galanza

Read: Jema Galanza offers career game to departed sister

Ateneo Lady Eagles

A lot of us might have been afraid for the Lady Eagles during the start of their first game, as NU Lady Bulldogs almost stole a set from them.

However, the Katipunan-based squad has enough maturity and experience to handle the pressure, which enabled them to catch NU and win the set. The outstanding sets of Jia Morado should be pointed out, after enabling her attackers to look good before the audience due to her on-point sets.

First-game stunners: Jia Morado, Maddie Madayag, Alyssa Valdez


DLSU Lady Spikers

Now that former MVP Ara Galang is back in action, the Lady Spikers could not have been any better.

They might have started off slow against the FEU Lady Tamaraws, but this veteran team proved they are ready to bring back the championship to Taft.

Their determination, passion and eagerness to win were reflected in their game. Moreover, the team’s defense has improved, after seeing Galang, Kim Fajardo and Carol Cerveza giving their best so as to not let the ball drop.

Other teams should be careful in delivering the ball near the net, especially that a more mature Mika Reyes and Majoy Baron will be dominating their first-line defense. 

First-game stunners: Mika Reyes, Carol Cerveza, Majoy Baron

Read: Reyes plays through ankle sprain, shines for La Salle


FEU Lady Tamaraws

Everyone had high hopes for this team, especially that former best setter Gyzel Sy has returned to command the offense of the Lady Tamaraws.

However, their game against La Salle proved otherwise.

They may have outstanding attackers, but without good defense, they will not be able to make points. Nevertheless, they were able to play at par with the Lady Spikers, after Toni Rose Basas and Remy Palma leading was able to earn 12 and 13 points, respectively.

First-game stunners: Toni Basa, Remy Palma


NU Lady Bulldogs

The Lady Bulldogs are known to be the more mature to team compared to their other competitors, especially that no one left the team from last season.

But this team’s struggle to find the perfect setter who will be able to utilize Jaja Santiago will continue to haunt them until they do so.

This team has the ideal pool of players—they have the skills, the height, and the experience. One of their 3 setters must step up and realize that they cannot rely solely on Myla Pablo in their offense.

First-game stunners: Jaja Santiago, Myla Pablo

Read: NU coach: We got killed by our errors


UE Lady Warriors

A much-improved UE team was witnessed as they opened UAAP Season 78 against UP, but maturity and experience set them back. 

This team should not be taken lightly anymore, because they have enough skills to give their opponents a struggle. Moreover, the defense of the Recto squad has improved a notch, especially that there were a lot of rallies during their opening game.

First-game stunners: Roselle Baliton


UST Golden Tigresses

Despite losing a heartbreaker to Adamson, UST was able to show their remarkable skills and spirit.

After Coach Kung Fu Reyes dug deep into his bench to shuffle his rotation, the Golden Tigresses were able to find the right mix to grab the 3rd and 4th sets.

Their bench players should always be ready to be a sparkplug, just how Rica Rivera was able to fill in for the lackluster performance of Carmela Tunay.

The outstanding game-changing performance of Cherry Rondina led the Tigresses’ offense from start to finish. This team can put a good first ball and convert them into powerful attacks, but their defense needs a little more improvement, in order to counter the attacks of their opponents. 

First-game stunners: Cherry Rondina, Rica Rivera

Read: Beach volley champ Rivera hopes to make on-court mark for UST


UP Lady Maroons

This rookie-filled team created a buzz in the UAAP, after their opening game against UE. Winning in 3 sets, coach Jerry Yee was able to show how deep his bench is, as all except for Maristela Layug was able to contribute to the team’s success.

Despite not being the starter, Justine Dorog, who came in the 2nd set, proved that she deserved to be in the rotation with her incredible attacks. This team has a complete pool of players, but they have to be able to lessen their errors to avoid their opponents to lead.

First-game stunners: Justine Dorog, Nicole Tiamzon — By Arylle Magtalas