Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University will be gunning for twice-to-beat incentives in the Final Four when they face separate foes today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Ateneo battles Adamson University at 4 p.m. while La Salle goes up against University of the East (UE) at 2 p.m.
The Lady Eagles and the Lady Spikers are sharing the top spot with identical 9-2 cards followed by Final Four contenders Far Eastern University and University of the Philippines in third with the same 7-5 slates.
Despite missing the services of middle hitter Maddie Madayag, who suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury, the Lady Eagles remained formidable with utility spiker Amy Ahomiro taking over her post.
“We really miss her,” said Ateneo skipper Alyssa Valdez – owner of two Most Valuable Player awards.
Besides Valdez and Ahomiro, the Lady Eagles will be banking on power-hitting open spiker Jhoanna Maraguinot, middle blocker Bea De Leon, opposite hitter Kim Gequillana and setter Julia Morado.
They won against University of Santo Tomas, 25-20, 25-18, 25-18, two weeks ago.
At 3-8, the Lady Falcons, on the other hand, are already out of the Final Four race.
But Adamson is expected to fight until the end to have a graceful exit this season with Jessica Galanza, May Roque, Mylene Paat and Erika Alkuino leading the frontline.
For its part, La Salle wants to extend its four-game winning streak against also-ran UE.
Former MVP Ara Galang along with Mika Reyes, Mary Joy Baron and veteran playmaker Kim Fajardo will be spearheading the Lady Spikers’ assault against Lady Warriors’ top spikers – Shaya Adorador, Roselle Baliton and Judith Abil.
EMIL C. NOGUERA