University of the East ushered in a new era with a sweeping victory over Enderun Colleges, 25-16, 25-16, 25-20, in their opening game of the 2023 V-League Women’s Collegiate Challenge on Wednesday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Lady Warriors made a triumphant return to the V-League after their first and only appearance back in 2007. It was their prized recruits, led by Jelai Gajero, who shone in this victory.
“It was a good win. Siyempre hinihintay rin natin makaharap yung mga heavyweights, then tignan natin yung assessment after that,” newly installed UE coach Jerry Yee said.
Despite a broken play, the Lady Warriors seized a significant opportunity with the Lady Titans close behind. Captain Kizzie Madriaga found Gajero open on the left side for the game-winning kill that Enderun could not return.
Far Eastern University also provided a debut win for new head coach Manolo Refugia, as they cruised past Mapua University, 25-13, 25-18, 25-15, to conclude the opening day of the season.
“Happy naman ako sa mga girls kasi nakita yung past few months na tine-training namin although may mga small errors pa na kailangang trabahuhin,” said Refugia, who took the reigns of legendary setter and coach Tina Salak on interim basis.
Salak decided to complete her migration to the United States earlier on this day, following the approval of her immigrant visa.
Tin Ubaldo channeled both her coaches, Salak and Refugia, in orchestrating the Lady Tamaraws’ offense. She even executed a 1-2 play to score a crucial point for a 23-15 lead.
Mitzi Panangin then scored from the middle to conclude the match.