UAAP women’s volleyball Final Four this weekend

UAAP women’s volleyball Final Four this weekend

UAAP women’s volleyball Final Four this weekend

UAAP women’s volleyball Final Four this weekend

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COMPETITION in women’s volleyball in Season 81 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines enters the Final Four round this weekend with all the remaining teams engaging in marquee matches at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Top seeds Ateneo Lady Eagles face off with the fourth seeds Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws in one semifinal pairing while number-two team University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses collide with number three and defending champions De La Salle Lady Spikers on the other.

Ateneo and UST, as the top two teams at the end of the elimination round, carry a twice-to-beat advantage over their opponents in the Final Four.

First to go off is Ateneo versus FEU on Saturday, May 4, at 4 p.m.

It is a rematch of last year’s semifinal encounter with the tables turned as the Lady Eagles now carry the twice-to-beat incentive.

In Season 80, FEU saw no need to use its twice-to-beat edge, eliminating Ateneo at the first instance to advance to the finals.

This time around, the Lady Eagles, under coach Oliver Almadro, vow to do better, armed with momentum built on a solid elimination round run that saw them losing just two matches out of 14, all at the hands of La Salle.

Leading the way for Ateneo is senior Kat Tolentino, the league’s fourth leading scorer with an average of 14.3 points per contest.

After her is Maddie Madayag (11.6 points), Ponggay Gaston (8.7 points) and Bea De Leon (8.1 points).

They have had the number of FEU this season, beating the latter in their two previous encounters — winning in five sets in the first round and in three in the second round.

Despite having no success against Ateneo so far this year, FEU remains bullish of their chances.

Graduating player Heather Guino-o is top-scoring for the Lady Tamaraws with an average of 12.8 points with support from Celine Domingo and Jerrili Malabanan.

FEU finished the elimination round with a 9-5 card.

Over at the other pairing, UST looks to take full advantage of the twice-to-beat it holds after pulling it from under La Salle.

In their one-game playoff on Wednesday to determine the second seed, UST played with more spirit and was steadier to cast aside the Lady Spikers in four sets, 25-14, 25-23, 23-25 and 25-19.

League leading scorer Sisi Rondina stepped up big time for the Tigresses, finishing with 29 points. She was ably supported by rookie Eya Laure with 17.

“We really wanted to win this game. We said to ourselves we have nothing to lose and that we just have to go for it and play,” said Rondina after their victory.

“But there is no relaxing right now. We will continue working and stay on the same page to achieve our goals,” she added.

La Salle rued the lost opportunity but is determined to make the most of what it is dealt entering the Final Four.

The Lady Spikers are hinging their season on the play of rookie Jolina Dela Cruz and veterans Des Cheng, Aduke Ogunsanya, May Luna and Michelle Cobb.

The two teams split their first two encounters in the elimination round.

The UST-La Salle semifinal tiff is on May 5.