Champ Ateneo eyes Final 4 berth in UAAP women’s volley

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Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University will be gunning for the first Final Four slot when it battles University of the Philippines (UP) today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 77 women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

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Ateneo takes on UP at 2 p.m. followed by an equally interesting matchup between National University (NU) and De La Salle University at 4 p.m.

The Lady Eagles hold a clean 9-0 record for the solo lead and a win against the Lady Maroons would give them an automatic spot in the semifinals.

La Salle is in second with 8-1 while UP and NU are tied in the No. 3 position with Far Eastern University and University of Santo Tomas (UST) with 4-5 each.

Reigning Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez, who scored a season-high 30 points in their last game, will be leading the front line of the Lady Eagles along with middle hitters Bea De Leon and Amy Ahomiro, and playmaker Julia Morado.

UP, on the other hand, is expected to go all-out to bounce back from their five-setter loss (18-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-15, 11-15) to Ateneo in the first round.

Power-hitting Nicole Tiamzon and Angeli Araneta are UP’s main source strength as well as Chester Ong, Arianne Ilustre, Arylle Magtalas, Marian Buitre and Jewel Lai.

In the men’s division, Season 76 finalists Ateneo and NU collide at 8 a.m. and UST fights Adamson at 10 a.m.

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