Defending champion De La Salle University and last year’s runner-up Ateneo de Manila University will be disputing the top seeding in the Final Four today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The La Salle-Ateneo match is at 4 p.m. while University of Santo Tomas (UST) shoots for the last Final Four berth when it battles National University (NU) in the 12 p.m. first game.
The Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles are tied on top with 11-2 each and are already assured of twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals.
But La Salle is raring to bounce back from its 24-26, 24-26, 25-21, 17-25 loss to Ateneo in the first round.
Season 78 Finals Most Valuable Player Kim Kianna Dy – La Salle’s top scorer – is back after suffering an ankle sprain two weeks ago.
Joining Dy in the attack line are Majoy Baron, Tin Tiamzon, Desiree Cheng and Aduke Ogunsanya to blend perfectly well with veteran setter Kim Fajardo and libero Dawn Macandili.
On the other hand, playmaker Jia Morado will be leading the Lady Eagles along with Jhoana Maraguinot, Michelle Morente, Kat Tolentino and Bea de Leon.
“With La Salle, we need experience. Like us, I’m sure La Salle is also preparing for us. Our teamwork is our advantage [against La Salle]. We’re not relying on just one player. It’s our defense, blocking and offense,” said Morado.
Reserves Kim Gequillana and Ana Gopico, who delivered crucial points when needed, are also ready to step up for the Lady Eagles.
Meanwhile, UST (8-5) needs one more win to formalize its entry to the Final Four.
Cherry Ann Rondina, EJ Laure, Ria Meneses, Chloe Cortez and Dimdim Pacres must bring their A-games against the Lady Bulldogs who are aiming to force a playoff for the last semis seat.
Expect Jaja Santiago to unleash her full potential along with Jorelle Singh, Risa Sato, Aiko Urdas and setter Jasmine Nabor.