National University (NU) will be gunning for its first finals appearance in many years when it tackles last year’s runner-up Ateneo de Manila University in the women’s division of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 76 volleyball tournament today at The Arena in San Juan City.
The NU-Ateneo game is at 4 p.m. with the Lady Bulldogs holding a twice-to-beat advantage against the Lady Eagles.
NU is just a win away of making it to the finals in the Final Four era. The best finish, so far, for the Lady Bulldogs was their fourth-place exploits in Season 75. It was in 1953 and 1956 when NU won its two titles in the league.
The towering Santiago sisters – Jaja and Dindin—are expected to lead NU’s offense and defense along with power-hitting Myla Pablo, Carmina Aganon, last year’s Rookie of the Year Aiko Urdas and playmaker Ivy Perez.
Ateneo, on the other hand, is coming off an impressive 26-24, 25-23, 25-21 victory over Adamson University in the first phase of the stepladder semifinals with skipper Alyssa Valdez nailing 19 points on three aces, three blocks and 13 attacks.
Besides Valdez, the Lady Eagles will need solid games from middle blockers Amy Ahomiro and Aerial Patnongon along with rookie setter Julia Morado, Michelle Morente, Ella de Jesus and libero Denden Lazaro.
In the men’s division, the top-seeded and defending champion NU Bulldogs are also looking to earn their return-trip to the finals as they go up against the No. 4 Adamson Soaring Falcons at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs are also twice-to-beat in the Final Four.
(The Arena, San Juan City)
2 p.m. NU vs. AdU (m)
4 p.m. NU vs. ADMU (w)