EXPECT Alyssa Valdez to load up her spikes, but expect University of Santo Tomas to likewise toughen up on defense, guaranteeing a slam-bang action as the Ateneo Lady Eagles and the Tigresses slug it out for the last finals berth in the Shakey's V-League Season 12-Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City Wednesday.
The Tigresses’ triple-block ploy against the league’s scoring leader worked wonders for the España-based squad, which went on to unmask the erstwhile unbeaten Lady Eagles in the second game of their best-of-three semifinal series last Sunday.
The 18-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-22 scoreline spoke well of the fourth-ranked squad’s ability and readiness to face the top seeded team head-on and came out with better execution that led to key hits and net and floor defense that foiled a number of Ateneo attacks.
How the Lady Eagles would adjust and re-impose their supremacy will be known in the 4 p.m. sudden death for the right to face the National University Lady Bulldogs for the crown.
For one, Valdez will surely go all-out to double her effort after her 24-hit output in Game Two fell short of their target although the UAAP MVP will need to draw solid backup from the rest of the squad to neutralize the resurgent Tigresses.
Bea de Leon and Kim Gequillana did combine for 23 points but Jhoanna Maraguinto was limited to eight hits and Amy Ahomiro was held to a low three-point output.
“I was impressed by my players’ hustle, they went for the ball all throughout. And they must play with the same intensity to be able to beat Ateneo again,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes.
By proving Ateneo is beatable, UST will surely cash in on its new-found strength but it will be the sky-high confidence and momentum that will give the Tigresses a crack at the seventh championship in the league sponsored by Shakey’s and presented by PLDT Home Ultera.
Reyes will again bank on the power-hitting Ennajie Laure and the gritty troika of Pam Lastimosa, Carmela Tunay and Marivic Meneses and hope to draw quality minutes from the likes of Sarah Verutiao, Jessey De Leon, and libero Patrisha Rasmo the way they did in the series’ opener.
National University swept Far Eastern University in their side of the Final Four to clinch the first finals slot in the mid-season conference of the league backed by Mikasa and Accel.
The sudden death can be viewed live via streaming on www.v-league.ph, according to the organizing Sports Vision.