Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University shoots for its sixth straight win as it battles University of the East (UE) today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Eagles are heavily favored against the winless Lady Warriors in their 4 p.m. game while Far Eastern University (FEU) takes on Adamson University in the 2 p.m. match.
Ateneo holds the solo lead with a clean 5-0 record, ahead of De La Salle University (4-1), FEU (3-2), National University (3-2), University of the Philippines (2-3), University of Santo Tomas (2-3), Adamson (1-4) and UE (0-5).
After the UE, Ateneo will be facing La Salle on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s a really big game for us [against De La Salle]. But we have a game first against UE. Let’s see,” said reigning MVP Alyssa Valdez – the Lady Eagles’ main weapon.
Ateneo has the most balance team this season having middle hitters Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, opposite hitter Amy Ahomiro and open spiker Jhoanna Maraguinot, who are all contributing in scoring, and veteran setter Jia Morado.
It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Lady Warriors.
UE’s top hitter Shaya Adorador along with Celine Domingo, Judith Abil, Roselle Baliton and Mary Anne Mendrez must bring their A-game to stop the Lady Eagles.
On the other hand, FEU aims to further improve its 3-2 card.
The Lady Tamaraws went through the proverbial eye of a needle before scoring a tough 27-25, 21-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-12 win over the Lady Maroons last Sunday.
“Ito ‘yung mga kailangan namin kasi ito yung mga kulang ng team namin. Good thing ‘yang ma-experience namin ang mga ganitong game,” stressed FEU coach Shaq Delos Santos.
Adamson, for its part, suffered four consecutive defeats including its 19-25, 23-25, 16-25 loss to the Lady Eagles.
In the men’s division, Ateneo (4-1) faces UE at 8 a.m. followed by the game between Adamson (4-1) and UP (3-2).
EMIL C. NOGUERA