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#NCAASeason99: BPC predicts three-peat for the Lady Blazers

With the #NCAASeason99 Women’s Volleyball Tournament opening soon, let’s delve into our predictions about each team’s performance in the upcoming season.

By Kiel Mananquil, and Aleea Fedillaga | Saturday, 6 April 2024

Fans and teams of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball await the opening of the NCAA Season 99 Women’s Volleyball Tournament tomorrow. Can the Lady Blazers hold on to their thrones with a three-peat? Or will a new team dominate the court? The Benilde Press Corps analyzes each squad and predicts their performance for Season 99.


De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Lady Blazers

Previous Standing: Champions

The Lady Blazers made history with a spectacular back-to-back championship run. Despite the absence of stellar player Mycah Go in their lineup, the Taft squad fought hard and remained atop the standings throughout the season with a perfect record. 


No Major Loss


Key Additions: Mycah Go

After sitting out the entirety of NCAA Season 98 due to injuries, NCAA Season 97 MVP and team captain Go is set to make her comeback on court. Her significant role in Benilde’s championship run in Season 97 will definitely reinforce the ladies in green and white as they aim to extend their winning streak. 


Prediction: Champions—Three-peat

With Go back on the roster and the momentum from consecutive titles, the Lady Blazers have the potential to maintain their dominance this season. The championship team's core remains intact as Finals MVP Gayle Pascual, Season 98 Second Best Outside Spiker Jade Gentapa, Season 98 captain Cloanne Mondoñedo, middle blocker Mich Gamit, reliable hitter Zamantha Nolasco return to action this season. Now that their Season 97 championship lineup is back together, it will not be surprising if they have another successful run, building on their achievements from the last two seasons. 


Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Lady Pirates

Previous Standing: 1st Runner-Up

The Lyceum of the Philippines (LPU) Lady Pirates dominated early in the tournament, however they failed to steal the crown from the Lady Blazers in their bid to dominate the tournament. Challenging the Taft Squad with a 6-3 win-loss record.


No Major Losses and Additions


Prediction: 4th 

The Lady Pirates are set to continue their momentum to try and steal the crown again from the Taft squad, but also revamped teams in the tournament. Boasting an intact power trio as Season 98 Best Setter Venice Puzon, Season 98 2nd Best Middle Blocker Janeth Tulang, and Season 98 Week 3 Player of the Week Joan Doguna suit up again for the court. The confidence of the Lady Pirates in their current roster might prove to be a gamble especially against revamped teams this Season 99.  


University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (UPHSD) Lady Altas

Previous Standing: 3rd 

The University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (UPHSD) Lady Altas had a promising NCAA Season 98 with a 8-1 win-loss record in the elimination round. Unfortunately, their campaign was cut short when the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Lady Pirates ended their season in the second round. 


No Major Loss


Key Additions: Micay Mindanao, Cyrille Almeniana, Fianne Ariola, Daizerlyn Uy, Nicollete Gaa and Camille Bustamant

The promising UPHSD squad will be bolstered by a set of new faces, headlined by Micay Mindanao, Cyrille Almeniana, Fianne Ariola, Daizerlyn Uy, Nicollete Gaa, and Camille Bustamante all of whom displayed promising signs in the pre-season


Prediction: 2nd

Despite falling short of making a finals appearance, the Lady Altas had a good pre-season with their impressive performance in the Maharlika Pilipinas Volleyball Association and the 2023 Shakey’s Super League Preseason Tournament, where they finished as Champions and 4th seed respectively, positioning them as an exciting team to watch out for. Their stacked team spearheaded by reigning MVP and 1st Best Outside Spiker Mary Rhose Dapol, Season 98 Best Libero Marian Andal, Season 98 Rookie of the Year Shaila Omipon, and reliable setter Jhasmine Sapin promise a fiercely competitive season for the Lady Altas.


Mapua University (MU) Lady Cardinals

Previous Standing: 4th Seed  

The Mapua University (MU) Lady Cardinals completed last year’s final four cast. However, a trip to the finals was shut down by the Lady Pirates leaving them with a 6-3 win-loss record.


Major Losses: Chenie Batac

Mapua’s Outside Hitter, Chenie Batac played her final season with the Lady Cardinals, as the Bulacan native was set to graduate after Season 98. Batac became a keyplayer for their final four appearance in Season 98. 


Key Additions: Freighanne Seanelle Garcia, Princess Jeline Manarang, Clarence Marcos, Princess Rebustes, and Raissa Janel Ricablanca

The Lady Cardinals are backed with young guns heading into the next season, Freighanne Seanelle Garcia, Princess Jeline Manarang, Clarence Marcos, Princess Rebustes, and Raissa Janel Ricablanca, will all make their NCAA debut this Season 99, Mapua’s promising run in the Shakey's Super League Pre-Season Tournament is a great indication of what is to come in Season 99. 


Prediction: 5th

The Lady Cardinals have some promising faces in their roster bolstered by the unwavering presence of Hannah De Guzman on the court, making the ladies of Intramuros as one of the dark horses of the tournament. Despite their short appearances in various pre-season tournaments and in the NCAA Season 99 Beach Volleyball Tournament, the Lady Cardinals are expected to be a tough road block for their opponents.


Colegio de San Juan de Letrán (CSJL) Lady Knights

Previous Standing: 5th seed

The Colegio de San Juan de Letrán (CSJL) Lady Knights fought valiantly until their last game of the season taking home a win, but falling short of a final four berth. The team from Muralla forced an extended match against the Arellano University (AU) Lady Chiefs, to even the standings and conclude the season as the 5th place with a win-loss record of 5-4.


Major Losses: Cha Cunada and Shereena Urmeneta

The Lady Knights ended NCAA Season 98 with the departure of its star players, team captain Shereena Urmeneta and seasoned veteran Cha Cunada, leaving big shoes to fill in the upcoming season. 


Key Additions: Coach Oliver Almadro and Gia Maquilang

Coach Oliver Almadro, a proud Letranite, is the perfect addition to the team as he once led another from a three-decade drought to a three-peat performance. His expertise and the Lady Knights’ hunger for a title coincide with the introduction of rising stars such as Gia Maquilang— NCAA Season 99 Beach Volleyball Rookie MVP, often compared by her teammates to volleyball star Sisi Rondina and Letran’s own, Cunada.


Prediction: 3rd

Despite an early exit from the Shakey’s Super League Pre-season Tournament, the Lady Knights took home the title without incurring any losses at the Season 99 Beach Volleyball Tournament. This promising performance, especially from its outstanding rookie, Maquilang, might be the silver lining towards their return to the final four.


Arellano University (AU) Lady Chiefs

Previous Standing: 5th seed

The Arellano University (AU) Lady Chiefs boast a pre-pandemic three-peat title in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament. They went from smashing and dominating their opponents in the court to falling short of final four contention last NCAA Season 98 with a record of 5-4, tying with the Lady Knights.


Major Losses: Trina Abay and Nicole Sasuman

Trina Abay and Nicole Sasuman, who were key players in the performance of the Lady Chiefs in reclaiming their title, played their final season with Arellano as they were set to graduate. Abay, the Lady Chiefs’ team captain, was awarded as the best middle blocker of the previous season. Their departure truly leaves a large void for Arellano to fill in their bid to reclaim their title back. 


No major additions


Prediction: 7th

The Lady Chiefs displayed a promising first round in the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-season Tournament, however, things went downhill at the second, failing to snatch a win. They were also unable to secure a podium finish at the NCAA Season 99 Beach Volleyball Tournament, falling short once again. If the Lady Chiefs want to reclaim the title they once held, investments in promising players like sophomore Laika Tudlasan are ought to be made.


San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) Lady Stags

Previous Standing: 7th

The San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) Lady Stags have been relentlessly striving to end their title drought for seasons now. Despite their persistent efforts, they came up short in their quest once again ending Season 98 as the 7th seed with a 3-6 record. 


Major Losses: Jewelle Bermillo, Jamille Carreon, Shane Requierme, Alexia Sison, 

Team captain and libero Jewelle Bermillo, universal Jamille Carreon, outside hitter Shane Requierme, and setter Alexia Sison, who were key players in NCAA Season 98, will not suit up for the Lady Stags as they graduated at the end of last season. 


Key Additions: Von Dimaculangan, Juna May Gonales, Mary Anne Margarette Adia, Zenith Joy Deposoy, Brigitte Anne Martinez, Lei Lance Pasco, Chloi Florenci Lazarte

New talent will grace the court for the Recto-based squad, as former University of the East (UE) stand out and Lady Warrior Von Dimaculangan will make her NCAA debut alongside rookies Juna May Gonales, Mary Anne Margarette Adia, Zenith Joy Deposoy, Brigitte Anne Martinez, Lei Lance Pasco, and Chloi Florenci Lazarte all of whom showcased their skills in the Shakey’s Super League Pre-season Tournament. 


Prediction: 6th

While dependable open hitter Katherine Santos and middle blocker Jassy Lumibao remain on the team, the Lady Stags consist of mostly new recruits. As they continue its rebuilding process, it will not be surprising if they fall short of achieving their awaited goal of returning the title to Recto this season. 

Jose Rizal University (JRU) Lady Bombers

Previous Standing: 8th

After making it to the final four in Season 97, the Jose Rizal University (JRU) Lady Bombers were determined to bounce back in Season 98. However, their performance fell short of expectations as they ended with a disappointing 1-8 record. 


Major Loss: Sydney Mae Niegos, Riza Rose

Team captain and middle blocker Sydney Mae Niegos, known as the Queen Bomber, along with seasoned opposite hitter Riza Rose has officially bid farewell to the Lady Bombers last season. Their exceptional talent and strong leadership will undoubtedly be a big loss for the ladies in blue and gold.


No Key Addition


Prediction: 9th

With key players, May Ruiz, Inday Laurente, and Marianne Alona set to return this season and no key additions to the roster, the absence of veterans Niegos and Rose will definitely be felt. Following back-to-back winless campaigns in the Shakey’s Super League Pre-season Tournament, it is clear that the Lady Bombers need to make changes to return to their winning ways. 


San Beda University (SBU) Lady Red Spikers

Previous Standing: 9th

Despite being in a rebuilding phase, the Lady Red Spikers displayed resilience throughout NCAA Season 98. Unfortunately, they fell short of their ultimate goal to qualify for a final four spot, concluding their season with an underwhelming 1-8 win-loss record. 


Major Losses: Trisha Paras

With team captain Trisha Paras’ departure, the ladies donning red and white will not only lose a star player, but also a valuable leader who provided stability and mentorship the young team. The Lady Red Spikers will have to step up to fill Paras’ pivotal role. 


Key Additions: Head Coach Edgar Barroga, Reyann Cañete, Jayde Dela Cruz, Sophie Cagalawan, Amber Lily Biong, Jaschryl Casugod, and Gina Espina

Coach Edgar Barroga will bring a wealth of experience and his strategic coaching prowess to the lions’ den, where he aims to implement a new system and instill a culture of unity and discipline within the team. Reyann Cañete, the former San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) standout, will strengthen the Lady Red Spikers’ roster and potentially fill in the shoes of former captain Paras. In addition, Western Visayas-based rookies Jayde Dela Cruz, Sophie Cagalawan, Amber Lily Biong, Jaschryl Casugod, and Gina Espina are welcomed additions to the lineup.


Prediction: 8th

The Lady Red Spikers showcased potential in their Shakey’s Super League preseason tournament stint. However, as they continue to revamp under a new system with a squad consisting of new players, they need to adapt to the competitive landscape of the NCAA tournament. Nevertheless, their commitment during the off-season and the fresh talent on the team under the guidance of tenured Coach Barroga gives a glimpse of a bright future for the Mendiola squad. 


Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Lady Generals

Previous Standing: 10th

The Lady Generals need a lot more than time before they can secure a women’s volleyball title from the tournament. The team wrapped up Season 98 with a win and eight losses, securing another year as the tournament’s cellar dweller. 


No major losses or additions


Prediction: 10th

The Lady Generals’ roster relies heavily on their veterans, Almazan, Reyes, and Omapas, putting them at a disadvantage for the succeeding seasons of the tournament. Setting their benchmarks a little higher would provide them with more opportunities to capitalize their promising veterans and have a strong run for Season 99.


The Verdict

Both familiar and completely new faces will step onto the court, as old and revamped teams return for much-anticipated action. With these off-season adjustments, the women’s volleyball tournament stage is set for yet another electrifying season.


The Lady Blazers look to remain queens of the court in hopes of pulling off a historic three-peat. Although the road to another championship will not be easy, they are eager to advance their winning streak. 


Catch the opening of the NCAA Season 99 Women’s Volleyball Tournament on Sunday, Apr. 7, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City, with a live telecast on GTV and NCAA Philippines’ website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.

Tags: NCAA 99