DEFENDING champion Ateneo and archrival La Salle both seek to clinch twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four as they tangle with also-rans on Saturday in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Lady Eagles face Adamson at 4 p.m., right after the Lady Spikers take on University of the East in the curtain raiser at 2 p.m.
Ahead by two-and-a-half games over joint third placers University of the Philippines and Far Eastern University, Ateneo and La Salle, both sporting 9-2 slates, should have no trouble clinching the semifinals bonus that could prove helpful in setting up another championship showdown between the two rivals for the fifth straight season.
Headed to their seventh straight Final Four appearance, the Lady Eagles are hoping to go all the way even without injured middle hitter Maddie Madayag, as Amy Ahomiro is back to her old position where she's excelled.
“We really miss her,” said Ateneo skipper Alyssa Valdez of Madayag, who led the team in the service department in the first round.
The Lady Falcons (3-8), though, look to play the spoiler role to the Lady Eagles’ quest of getting a higher seeding in the playoffs.
The Lady Spikers, back in the semis for the eighth straight year, are hoping to have spiker Cyd Demecillo back in harness after she hurt her knee two weeks ago.
Still, La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus can look to his deep roster in case the utility spiker is not yet 100 percent against the winless Lady Warriors.
Volleyball action then returns to the Filoil Flying V Center on Sunday, with the Lady Maroons and the Lady Tamaraws battling it out for the all-important eighth victory at 4 p.m.
The winner of the UP-FEU match will get the third Final Four berth in the event National University loses to University of Santo Tomas in the first game at 2 p.m.
Both toting 7-5 records, the Lady Maroons and the Lady Tamaraws are just ahead by one game over the fifth-running Lady Bulldogs (6-6) in the race for the last semis slot.
In key men’s division matches starting at 8 a.m., Adamson (8-3) and NU (8-4) try to nail the two Final Four slots against winless UE (0-11) and FEU (6-6), respectively.
Games on Saturday:
(Mall of Asia Arena)
8 a.m. – UE vs AdU (Men)
10 a.m. – FEU vs NU (Men)
2 p.m. – UE vs DLSU (Women)
4 p.m. – AdU vs Ateneo (Women)