THE HOTTEST team right now in UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament, the league-leading Ateneo Lady Eagles try to extend their eight-game winning streak today, taking on the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs.
Scheduled for 4 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City, the Lady Eagles (9-1) are out to notch their ninth win in as many games while also avenging their lone loss in the ongoing University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season at the hands of the Lady Bulldogs (6-4) in the first round.
Ateneo staved off collapse in its last game, hacking out a narrow five-sets win over the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, 25-20, 25-22, 17-25, 21-25 and 15-8, last Saturday to preserve its long unbeaten run.
Jhoana Maraguinot came through with 23 points, including three service aces, in the hard-earned win, with Michelle Morente chalking up 15 hits, 18 digs and 17 excellent receptions while Jia Morado tossed in 39 excellent sets on top of six points for Ateneo.
“Good thing the breaks went our way in the end,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sherwin Meneses after their narrow victory even as he said they are looking forward to their game against NU.
FINAL FOUR PUSH
Out to thwart Ateneo in its bid to win nine in a row while at the same time giving its own Final Four push a boost is NU, currently joint third in the standings.
The Lady Bulldogs padded their record to 6-4 in UAAP Season 79 with a win over the struggling University of the East Lady Warriors in four sets, 25-15, 25-21, 22-25 and 25-21, last Sunday in a game they described as big for their campaign.
“This was a big win for us considering the tight race for the last two spots in the Final Four. The way I see it, the top two are already secured by Ateneo and La Salle. We can try to catch them but it’s going to be tough. So we have to finish strong and win as many games as possible in the elimination round,” said NU coach Roger Gorayeb after the game.
Jaja Santiago was the top scorer for the Lady Bulldogs with a game-high 23 points, with Jorelle Singh and Risa Sato chipping in 17 and 10 points, respectively.
Setter Jasmine Nabor had 88 excellent sets on top of eight points for the Lady Bulldogs.
“We have to prepare hard for Ateneo in our next game. The circumstances are different now than the last time we faced them,” Mr. Gorayeb said as he channeled his attention to the Ateneo game.
In the 2 p.m. game, meanwhile, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons (5-5) try to move above the .500 mark as they face off with the still-winless Adamson Lady Falcons (0-10).