San Sebastian College and Ateneo face off tonight for the last semifinal berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference with the former out to re-assert its mastery of the latter and the Lady Eagles vowing to put up one big fight to save their season.
Both teams dropped their final quarterfinal matches to end up tied at 2-3, setting up the sudden death for the right to join Far Eastern U, defending champion National U and University of the Philippines in the Final Four of the mid-season conference sponsored by Shakey’s.
The match is set at 6 p.m. at the Philsports Arena in Pasig and will be aired live over ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23 and via streaming on www.sports.abs-cbn.com, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
Meanwhile, the best-of-three semis series in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Collegiate Conference also fires off today with UST and NU colliding at 10 a.m. and La Salle and Ateneo squaring off at 12 noon, which will be shown on a delayed basis at 4 p.m.
The Lady Stags swept the Lady Eagles in their Group A elims meeting last Aug. 6 that saw the former NCAA champs rally from 13 points down at the end of the third set and rack up the last 15 points to complete a 25-23, 25-22, 25-23 victory.
But records are ignored in knockout matches with coaches of both teams expected to come up with key adjustments and surprises to startle the other team’s play-patterns for the needed advantage or momentum.
Still, SSC seems to hold a slight edge in manpower with Grethcel Soltones, Denice Lim, Katherine Villegas, Joyce Sta. Rita, libero Alyssa Eroa and setter Vira Guillema expected to lead the Lady Stags’ bid along with Nikka Dalisay, Daureen Santos and Dangie Encarnacion.
“But we can’t rely on Grethcel (Soltones) too much, otherwise we will be predictable. Everyone must step up,” said SSC coach Clint Malazo.
Ateneo, which lost to NU in last year’s finale of the conference backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter, has suffered following the graduation of former two-time MVP Alyssa Valdez and Amy Ahomiro, among others, and has been fighting on sheer guts and big fighting heart to stay in the semifinal hunt.
Michelle Morente has taken the cudgels for the Loyola-based school but must draw solid backup from the likes of Kim Gequillana, Ana Gopico, Pauline Gaston, Bea de Leon, Jessica Tan, Julianne Samonte and playmaker Julia Morado to advance.
The Lady Eagles must also neutralize the power-hitting pair of Soltones and Lim and try to minimize their errors that have stymied their bid in past matches.