Reigning champion De La Salle University aims to finish the first round of eliminations on a high note when it battles archrival Ateneo de Manila University today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Expect a full-house crowd as the highly anticipated game between the Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles unfolds at 4 p.m. Far Eastern University (FEU) collides with University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the 2 p.m. opening game.
La Salle, Ateneo and FEU are sharing the second spot with 4-2 each behind solo leader National University (5-1).
La Salle coach Ramil De Jesus laments their four-set loss to Adamson the last time even calling his ward’s performance “barangay-level.”
“It was a poor showing. We can’t afford to play like that in the UAAP,” stressed De Jesus.
Expect a rejuvenated Lady Spikers side led by reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) Majoy Baron, former Finals MVP Kim Kianna Dy, Season 79 Finals MVP Desiree Cheng and seasoned libero Dawn Macandili.
Open hitter Tin Tiamzon is also eager to regain her form after her poor showing against Adamson as well as sophomore setter Michelle Cobb who produced a measly 28-set output.
The Lady Eagles are jumping into the fray with a high morale.
They are coming off a four-game winning streak including their 25-20, 25-22, 28-26 straight-set win over University of the Philippines last week.
Ateneo is getting huge output from the trio of Jhoana Maraguinot, Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag.
But Season 79 Rookie of the Year Kat Tolentino, Jules Samonte and playmaker Deanna Wong are also contributing well for the Lady Eagles.
Ateneo, however, will be missing Thai coach Tai Bundit, who reportedly went back to Thailand for personal reasons as well as libero Dani Ravena, who underwent an appendix operation.