RIVALS Ateneo and La Salle clash for the first time this season on Sunday in the 76th UAAP women's volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The match, the first meeting between the two rival teams since their title showdown last season, starts at 4 p.m.
After falling to National University in the season opener, the Lady Eagles have won five straight to share second spot with the Lady Bulldogs.
The Katipunan-based squad is coming off a morale-boosting win in a tough match against University of Santo Tomas, 15-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 15-13, on Wednesday.
But the three-time defending champion Lady Spikers, who have practically intact core from last year’s squad, have not lost a single set in the season and are heavily favored in the match.
"From last year, wala pa silang talo, andoon ang challenge kasi malakas talaga sila given na 'yun," said Ateneo team captain Alyssa Valdez.
Valdez, the league leader in scores and service aces, believes they could pull off a stunner.
"Bilog ang bola eh," she said. "We'll never know until andoon na tayo sa game."
La Salle will bank on the leadership of skipper Aby Maraño, Ara Galang, Mika Reyes and Kim Fajardo.
Meanwhile, National U and Adamson tangle at 2 p.m.