The core of UAAP and Shakey’s V-League semifinalist UP will join the 13th Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference, hoping to get into top form before Season 79 begins next year.
Sponsored by truck and equipment giant United Auctioneers, Inc., the wards of coach Jerry Yee will be one of 8 teams participating in the season-ending joust that fires off on October 1.
“The ultimate goal is to train for the UAAP,” the mentor told FOX Sports. “We enjoy a good relationship with Shakey’s. We’ve covered a lot of ground with their support of this volleyball program. And when the time came that they invited us to support this Reinforced Conference, we’re glad to oblige.”
The UAI squad, whose moniker is yet to be revealed, will feature the Lady Maroons’ top guns such as Kathy Bersola, Nicole Tiamzon, Isa Molde, Tots Carlos and Princess Gaiser, among others.
But unlike fellow UAAP squad UST, Yee said the team will field in a couple of imports, who will not only help them win games in the V-League, but also help them harness their talents in preparation for the collegiate wars.
“Expect some of the core group to sit out some games, we will be competitive with our imports,” he said. “But we will rest our locals from time to time. They are students first and that is important to us.”
UP is nearing the backend of the first semester, with important classes and examinations lined up and Yee doesn’t want to risk his players’ grades by forcing them to miss classes to play in the tournament.
The multi-titled coach said he is thankful to the organizers for having scheduled their matches only on Mondays and Saturdays.
“Less stress ito to our academic schedules,” he said. “Some UAAP teams will be at the Unigames. Mas mabigat sobra yung one-week absence kesa wala naman tamaan na class. The two Wednesdays we played nung (Collegiate Conference) quarterfinals and semifinals took its toll.”
Yee admitted they have not signed any foreign reinforcement as of now, but shared they tried to sign up Thai stalwarts from powerhouse Bangkok Glass.
The Thai club, however, were unable to release both Sutadta Chuweulim and Karina Krause due to prior commitments. — By Josiah Albelda