National University (NU) and Far Eastern University (FEU) will be clashing in a do-or-die match today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 77 women’s volleyball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The first stage of the stepladder semifinals between the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Tamaraws is scheduled at 4 p.m.
The winner of the NU-FEU game will be meeting the No. 2 seeds De La Salle University Lady Spikers in the second stage of the semifinals. Reigning titlist Ateneo de Manila University has already secured the first slot in the finals following its 14-0 sweep of the elimination round.
NU and FEU split their first two meetings in the eliminations with the Lady Tamaraws winning on December 13 via a 25-23, 26-24, 25-10 score before the Lady Bulldogs bounced back on February 14 with a 25-21, 25-20, 25-23 decision.
NU is expected to display a more solid game this time, having acquired the services of veteren mentor Roger Gorayeb, who wants to maximize the potential of 6-foot-4 Jaja Santiago.
The towering middle hitter responded to the challenge as she scored an average of 17.5 points in their last two games against Adamson University and University of the Philippines.
Besides Santiago, the Lady Bulldogs will be relying on former Best Spiker Myla Pablo as well as Rizza Mandapat, Jorelle Singh, Desiree Dadang and setter Jocelyn Soliven.
FEU, on the other hand, is coming off a hard earned 25-21, 25-15, 20-25, 16-25, 15-6 victory over University of Santo Tomas (UST) to grab the last Final Four ticket.
The troika of Bernadeth Pons, Geneveve Casugod and Remy Palma will be the main source of strength of the Lady Tamaraws. They scored 17 points each against UST.
Meanwhile, defending champion NU and University of Santo Tomas (UST) will be disputing the second finals berth in the men’s division at 2 p.m.