MANILA, Philippines – The Final Four cast of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament has been set, but all 4 teams continue to fight for the top two slots that come with a twice-to-beat incentive.
Leaders Ateneo (10-2) and La Salle (9-3), both aiming to put a lock on their seats, go for crucial victories against separate opponents on Wednesday, April 24, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Eagles tackle the eliminated Adamson Lady Falcons in the 4 pm match where Ateneo vies to clinch the first semifinal bonus with a victory.
Defending champion La Salle, meanwhile, battles an also-ran squad in the University of the East Red Warriors at 2 pm in a bid to keep hold of the No. 2 spot and secure at least a playoff for the twice-to-beat advantage.
A win for the Lady Spikers will also give them cushion against the gung-ho University of the Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses, who are running 3rd with a 9-4 record.
Ateneo missed its first chance to nail the semifinal advantage after getting swept by fierce rival La Salle over a week ago.
But the Lady Eagles take the floor as favorites again as Ateneo dominated Adamson in their first-round meeting with a straight-set win behind Ponggay Gaston, who led the attack with 16 points, 6 coming off aces.
An Ateneo upset loss, though, will put the Lady Eagles in a precarious situation as it fuels La Salle and UST’s chances of toppling them from the No. 1 spot in the final stretch of the eliminations.
The Lady Spikers also remain favored to repeat their straight-set win over the UE Lady Warriors in the first round behind Desiree Cheng and rookie standout Jolina Dela Cruz. – Juro Morilla/Rappler.com