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Sports

Returning Valdez to boost Home Ultera bid vs Army

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Alyssa Valdez confirms she’ll finally suit up for PLDT Home Ultera, giving the Ultra Fast Hitters added boost when they open their much awaited duel with the powerhouse Army Lady Troopers for the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Reinforced Conference crown tomorrow at The Arena in San Juan.

“She told me she’ll play,” said PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb yesterday, referring to the Ateneo ace spiker and reigning Open and Collegiate Conference MVP in the V-League.

Valdez missed the entire elimination round and semifinals due to her beach volley commitment with Ateneo. She had asked for an extended vacation to rest a nagging back injury.

But the face of the sport is expected to be back in her top form as she spearheads the Ultrafast Hitters’ bid against the Lady Troopers in what promises to be a classic duel between the top two teams in the league.

Game One is set at 3 p.m.

Valdez’s presence is expected to further enhance Home Ultera’s frontline threat following the arrival of the tall, power-hitting American imports in former US NCAA Division I standouts Victoria Hurtt and Sareea Freeman, who debuted for the team in the last elims playdate of the season-ending conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera and sponsored by Shakey’s.

Gorayeb, however, rested his reinforcements in the team’s lopsided 25-11, 25-17, 25-17 victory over University of the Philippines in the semis.

“It will mean more attacking options for us with Alyssa back,” said Gorayeb.

However, Gorayeb remains wary of the Lady Troopers, who pack an equally solid roster that has been together for quite sometime now.

“We’re taller, yes. But they’re a more experienced team and they’ve been together longer than us,” said Gorayeb, who lost to Army, 23-25, 25-23, 11-25, 25-19, 13-15, in their first round meeting last Oct. 25.

Army made it through by sinking Navy, 25-16, 25-10, 25-22, in the other Final Four contest.

The Lady Troopers boast of Jovelyn Gonzaga, Aby Marano, Honey Royse Tubino and Mary Remy Joy Palma and ace setter Tina Salak.

Aside from Hurtt, Freeman and Valdez, Home Ultera has several new players in its fold, including former league MVP Aiza Pontillas and Janine Marciano, who joined the team only this conference from Cagayan Valley.

vuukle comment

ABY MARANO

ACIRC

AIZA PONTILLAS AND JANINE MARCIANO

ALYSSA VALDEZ

ARMY LADY TROOPERS

ATENEO

CAGAYAN VALLEY

DIVISION I

GORAYEB

HOME ULTERA

LADY TROOPERS

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