Rising from ashes: United VC aims better finish in PSL Grand Prix

The United Volleyball Club is looking to leave their past behind them and start fresh this year.

United VC, formerly known as the Cocolife Asset Managers for two years, seemed ready to move on from the memory of their dismal campaigns last year.

At the helm of their bid for revival is Fil-Hawaiian spiker Kalei Mau.

The 23-year-old Mau single-handedly carried the scoring cudgels for the then Cocolife during her PSL debut in the All-Filipino Conference, racking up a total of 188 points — the fourth best — for a tournament-high average 17.09 points per match.

Despite her scintillating individual output, the 6-foot-1 outside spiker’s effort was all for nothing as she received little to no help in scoring

Justine Tiu and Arianne Angustia, the squad’s second and third best scorers, only averaged a 5.55 and 5.18 points per game, respectively, prompting the Asset Managers inevitable fall.

But this time, it’s going to be different as UVC made sure to fortify every cylinders possible, from landing powerful imports to back up Mau’s numbers to fixing its setter woes.

Now a new leaf, United VC looks to make a splash in the upcoming Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix 2019.

Forming a three-way scoring machine, Mau no longer needs to deliver the goods alone as she will be receiving a lot of help from American spikers Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani and Tai Manu-Olevao.

The 22-year-old Bedart-Ghani is a defensive gem out of University of Texas, serving as antidote to UVC’s reception and floor defense woes.

Returning for her second PSL stint, the 24-year-old Manu-Olevao, meanwhile, is a proven and tested all-around spiker as she led Cocolife to a fourth place finish in 2017.

With three potent spikers in their fold, UVC needs a talented playmaker, leading to the recruitment of Fil-Hawaiian setter Alohi Robins-Hardy.

Robins-Hardy’s inclusion in the roster turned UVC into a serious title contender as she is tipped to the solution to the setting problem of the squad while adding extra net defense with her 6-foot-2 frame.

But the upgrading doesn’t stop there for UVC.

Following the departure of defensive ace Denden Lazaro, UVC tapped Bang Pineda from Generika Ayala and Amy Ahomiro from BanKo to beef up their floor and net defense.

Pineda will share minutes with libero Dancel Dusaran while Ahomiro mans the net with Marge Tejada, Shannen Palec, Erika Alkuino and Angustia.

Newly-assigned head coach Joshua Ylaya, meanwhile, looks to draw additional support from the young guns Justin Tiu, Gyra Barroga and Jinggay Bangad.

Coaching changes, local recruitment coup, scouting the best imports available — UVC is dead serious in erasing its image as cellar dwellers after two consecutive bottom half finishes.

Their mettle will be tested when they kick off the season against Foton on February 16, 4 p.m. at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.

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