Defending champion De La Salle University shoots for the Final Four slot when it takes on University of the East (UE) today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Spikers are heavily favored against the also-ran Lady Warriors in their 2 p.m. game.
La Salle holds an 8-2 card for No. 2 spot – just a win away of claiming the second Final Four berth.
Ateneo de Manila University (9-2) took the first semis seat by virtue of its 9-2 record.
Season 78 Finals Most Valuable Player Kim Dy, Mary Joy Baron, Ernestine Tiamzon and Desiree Cheng will spearhead the Lady Spikers along with libero Dawn Macandili and veteran playmaker Kim Fajardo.
The Lady Warriors, on the other hand, will rely on Shaya Adorador, Judith Abil, Jasmine Alcayde and Roselle Baliton as they aim to improve their 1-9 slate.
Seeing action in the second game at 4 p.m. are University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Far Eastern University (FEU).
The Tigresses (6-4) and the Lady Tamaraws (5-5) must win their remaining games to strengthen their chances of making it to the next round.
UST is fresh from a 25-12, 25-18, 21-25, 25-19 victory over Adamson University.
But UST coach Kungfu Reyes isn’t satisfied after surrendering the third set to the Lady Falcons due to the Tigresses’ unforced errors.
“It’s [third set loss]a wake up call for us. This [game versus FEU]could be a turning point. FEU, UP and NU are in a close fight for the remaining Final Four slots so we need to work hard if we want to advance to the Final Four. We need to play all-out in the second round,” stressed Reyes.
Open hitters Cherry Ann Rondina and EJ Laure banner the frontline of the Tigresses but Pam Lastimosa, Ria Meneses, Chloe Cortez and Dimdim Pacres must also contribute both on offense and defense.
The Tamaraws are still licking the wounds of their 20-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-21, 8-15 loss to the Lady Eagles last Sunday.
“We need to bounce back [from that loss]. We are in a crucial position right now, we need to win our remaining games,” said FEU coach Shaq delos Santos, who will bank on Bernadeth Pons, Remy Palma, Chin-Chin Basas and Nette Villarael.
In the men’s division, University of the Philippines (5-5) battles UST (4-6) at 10 a.m. while NU (9-1) collides with La Salle (4-6) at 8 a.m.
EMIL C. NOGUERA