Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University shoots for the first Final Four slot when it battles University of Santo Tomas (UST) today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The Lady Eagles-Tigresses match will be at 4 p.m. after the curtain-raiser game between National University (NU) and Far Eastern University (FEU) at 2 p.m.
Ateneo and idle De La Salle University are sharing the lead with identical 8-2 marks followed by University of the Philippines in third with 6-4.
UST, NU and FEU are in a three-way tie for fourth with 5-5 each.
The Lady Eagles will be playing without Maddie Madayag who suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury during training at the Blue Eagle Gym on Tuesday.
This means utility spiker Amy Ahomiro will be converted as middle hitter while reserve Kim Gequillana will be playing the utility position.
Two-time Most Valuable Alyssa Valdez, open hitter Jhoanna Maraguinot and middle blocker Bea De Leon are expected to deliver for the Lady Eagles along with veteran setter Jia Morado and libero Gyzelle Tan.
The Tigresses, on the other hand, are fresh from 25-21, 17-20, 20-25, 25-23, 15-12 win over Adamson University with EJ Laure and Cherry Rondina leading the scoring cudgels.
But against Ateneo, veteran players Carmela Tunay, Jessey de Leon and Ria Meneses must also step-up along with setter Alex Cabanos, Chlodia Cortez and Christine Francisco.
In the men’s division, the Blue Eagles (9-1) are also gunning for a spot in the Final Four slot as they face the Growling Tigers (4-6) at 10 a.m.
The Green Spikers (4-6) and the Soaring Falcons (6-4) will be playing at 8 a.m.
EMIL C. NOGUERA