SWEEP or no sweep?
Defending champion Ateneo seeks an outright finals berth in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament when it battles old rival De La Salle at the end of the elimination round at the Mall of Arena on Wednesday.
The Lady Eagles go to the 4 p.m. match with an unblemished 13-0 record, needing one more win over the Lady Spikers to make it straight to the finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage.
The Lady Spikers, who earned the same benefit last year before losing the Ateneo in the title series, however, are looking to spoil the Lady Eagles’ party.
“Last year kami ang nasa ganoong situation ‘wag nating hayaan na dumating sila sa ganoong point,” stressed La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus to the Lady Eagles, who won all but one of their 13 matches.
That lone loss was courtesy of Ateneo, 22-25, 27-25, 25-16, 14-25, 9-15, during their first round encounter.
But De Jesus, an eight-time UAAP champion coach, said it does not matter how many sets the match will go as long as the Lady Spikers win.
“Ang point kasi doon maiwasan ang maka-sweep,” he said.
“Three sets man ‘yan, four sets, o five sets man ‘yan, ang importante manalo. Kasi lahat naman magbe-benifit sa panalong ‘yun. Kung hindi (namin sila matalo), isang team lang ang nagbe-benefit,” he added.
Ateneo skipper Alyssa Valdez said he is hoping for the best, especially with some of the Lady Eagles playing hurt.
“Madami kaming disadvantage, wala kaming middle (blocker), madaming injuries, so we’re just hoping for the best,” said Valdez during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Annual Awards Night on Monday, where she was named Ms. Volleyball for the second straight year.
Meanwhile, National University and Adamson hope to boost their respective bid for the remaining semis berth when they face off at 12 noon in the first match of the day’s triple bill.
The Lady Bulldogs are currently in third spot with an even 6-6 card, while the Lady Falcons hold a 5-7 slate for a share of fourth place with University of the Philippines.
The University of the Philippines Lady Maroons hope to improve their shot at a Final Four berth with a win over Far Eastern University (4-8) in the 2 p.m. game.
Only University of the East (0-13) is out of contention for a semis slot.
NU, Adamson, UP, and FEU still have two more games left to play in the eliminations, while University of Santo Tomas (5-8), Ateneo, and La Salle all have one match remaining.