Well at least La Salle and UST faced off in the preseason too this year and it’s a good thing. La Salle after being down 0-2 against UST in the UniGames in another exciting game between the two.
La Salle vs UST
Obviously, the defending champions will still have a very good team this year. But the most remarkable addition they have is actually Kim Fajardo. For years, I have been pointing out the brilliance in setting of this girl and it was high time for her to be in the line-up this year. Aside from their setting, La Salle still has the best set of middles this year. Abi Marano is still in her MVP form and Mika Reyes has improved her hitting this year. Wensh Tiu and Ara Galang have displayed also commendable performances in their positions so they will still be solid in the outside hitter position. Last year, opposite Gumabao shined in the Finals. I think she was the closest candidate (aside from Cha Cruz) to be the Finals MVP. I can’t wait to see her do better this year especially in hitting. Of course, La Salle’s strongest offensive arsenal would still be their blocking. All their players can block well and I think this will be one of the factors again this year for them to be one of the top teams.
UST is still adjusting to their new setter but you have to admire their “adjustment” phase because they can still be competitive even though they lost a great Rhea Dimaculangan. UST will have good wingers this year. Their outside hitters are solid especially when both Maru Banaticla and highly improved Judy Caballejo are on fire coupled with smart and power hits from Pam Lastimosa and Mela Tunay in the opposite position. Maika Ortiz’s running attacks are to die for, so for sure this will be one of their main weapons this year. Jessey de Leon and Midori Hirotsuji will also provide blocking and hits for their middle blocker position. Coach Odjie Mamon’s system involves a lot of blocking and floor defense, so overall, both offensively and defensively, UST is still a strong team. I won’t be surprised if they will be one of the top teams this year.
La Salle vs UST games are always good to watch. I’m sure there will be a lot of rallies as well as hard hitting spikes in this game. La Salle has the edge in the middle this year but UST has the edge in the outside hitter position. La Salle has more blocking while UST has more floor defense. So yeah, both teams will pretty much even out in terms of advantages and disadvantages. Another classic game awaits indeed.
Prediction: 5 sets, either way