IT’S a sweep, bust or split as Ateneo and National University dispute two volleyball titles in what looms to be a pair of thrilling finales capping the Shakey’s V-League and Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conferences.
But focus will surely be on the Lady Eagles-Lady Bulldogs duel, a dream title match between two teams that dominated the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Though Ateneo went through a wringer before thwarting a stubborn UST side in their best-of-three semifinal clash, the Lady Eagles remain the slight favorites against the Lady Bulldogs when Game One is played beginning at 12:45 p.m. Sunday at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Ateneo-NU volley rivalry also spills into the Spikers’ Turf as the Eagles and Bulldogs clash in the opener of their own best-of-three series starting at 3 p.m.
Both games can also be viewed live via streaming on www.v-league.ph, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
In the Shakey’s V-League, Ateneo boasts of the league’s scoring leader whose power and class are unmatched and a reliable crew ready to step up in what promises to be a fiercely fought series presented by PLDT Home Ultera.
But the Lady Bulldogs are all primed up for another title crack, overpowering the Far Eastern University Lady Tams in their side of the Final Four.
NU also holds a 1-0 edge in its finals duel with Ateneo, upending the Loyola-based squad in sudden death in Season 10 championship backed by Mikasa and Accel.
But NU coach Roger Gorayeb will have to plug the hole left by ace guest player and former stalwart Dindin Santiago-Manabat, who is still with the Petron team in an Asian club tournament in Vietnam and will only be able to re-join the team in next week’s Game Two.
“We’re happy to be in the finals. It’s hard to stop Alyssa (Valdez),” said Gorayeb. “What we need to do is to play solid.”
Still, Valdez insists NU has the edge in experience, citing the likes of Jaja Santiago, Myla Pablo, Aiko Urdas, and Manabat, all members of the 2013 champion team.
NU even re-acquired ace setter Rubie de Leon to bolster its title drive this year.
“We’re looking for a good performance, gain experience and achieve maturity,” said Valdez.”Ours is a young team and this is our first finals together.”
Whatever, the match, to be aired live on GMA News TV Channel 11, promises to be a dogfight with emphasis on execution, blocking and reception not to mention service that could spell the difference in a closely fought contest.