Preview: UAAP Final 4 fires off at the Big Dome
UAAP Season 75 Women's Volleyball Final Four
DLSU Lady Spikers (13-1) vs NU Lady Bulldogs (8-6)
When they last met… De La Salle University came up strong in the last two sets to repulse National University in five sets, 25-20, 23-25, 24-26, 25-13, 15-8, in their second round meeting. Sophomore Ara Galang sizzled with 21 points off 17 hits and four blocks to lead the Lady Spikers to the hard-earned win.
Why this game is important…
For La Salle: Seeking its third straight title, the Lady Spikers try to nail the first Finals berth when it squares off with the Lady Bulldogs --- a team that’s in the Final Four for the first time.
For NU: With NU writing history by making it this far for the first time since 1994, the Lady Bulldogs try to accomplish the tall order of beating the vaunted La Salle crew --- twice. A loss by the Lady Bulldogs on Saturday will put an abrupt end to their fairy-tale-like-story.
For La Salle: Mika Esperanza. Their defense has been the best we have seen in recent memory so the onus now is on starting setter Esperanza to masterfully orchestrate La Salle's attack. And up against a team that's not too far behind when it comes to defending their court, Esperanza will be hard-pressed to pick the right people to dish the ball to.
For NU: Cai Nepomuceno. See how Cai Nepomuceno broke the hearts of UST fans as the Marilao, Bulacan native dazzled with 23 points to lead NU past UST and enter the Final Four for the first time in school history. Nepomuceno brings another dimension to the Lady Bulldogs and if she explodes yet again on Saturday, who knows but NU might pull the rug from under La Salle.
And the winner is… NU is a strong team, without a doubt and barging in to the post-season for the first time is a big feat. But La Salle is a squad on a mission to bring the championship to the streets of Taft for the third straight year. And as we have seen in their elimination round encounters, the Lady Spikers' depth and talent are simply too much for the Lady Bulldogs. La Salle in four sets.
ADMU Lady Eagles (10-4) vs AdU Lady Falcons (9-5)
When they last met… Adamson started strong in their second round match with Ateneo, but needed a stronger finishing kick from Shiela Pineda to escape, 25-22, 25-21, 19-25, 16-25, 15-10, in a match that Lady Eagles star Fille Cianglet missed due to injury.
Pineda finished with 19 points while Mayette Zapanta and Pau Soriano combined for 29 markers as the Lady Falcons survived Alyssa Valdez' record-setting 35-point night.
Why this game is important…
For Ateneo: Armed with a ‘twice-to-beat’ incentive, the Lady Eagles are looking to set up a rematch of last year’s Finals showdown with archrival La Salle this season. But first things first, Ateneo must put away Adamson, who has played them well this season to avoid a rubber-match that might spell trouble for them.
For Adamson: The Lady Falcons proved this season that they can win big-time games and Saturday’s match with their “avian foes” is another test for Adamson. It's a lose-or-go-home situation for them but a win by the San Marcelino-based six can make Season 75 a lot more interesting.
For Ateneo: Jem Ferrer. The usually steady setter of head coach Roger Gorayeb is the engine that makes Ateneo’s offense running. She’s the glue that keep Ateneo together be it in good or bad times and her veteran savvy will be put into the test for the nth time.
For Adamson: Who else but Mayette Zapanta? The high-flying hitter has proven to be a steady part of the Lady Falcons’ deadly triumvirate that includes Pineda and Soriano. Zapanta’s game is so crucial that Adamson needs her to once again, be the sparkplug for the Lady Falcons if they want to live and see another day.
And the winner is… Ateneo withstood the test of time in UAAP Season 75 women’s volleyball and at this point, they have found the right mix to perhaps challenge La Salle for the ultimate prize--- the title. Adamson might have overachieved considering that they brought in a new coach in head coach Sherwin Meneses, they also had their moments but it’s just not their time yet. Ateneo in five sets. - Rappler.com