UST, FEU look to bolster semis bid as Final Four race heats up in UAAP volleyball
EJ Laure and Remy Palma are set for another tough battle when UST and FEU collide. Jaime Campos

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University clash in a crucial match to strengthen its respective bid for a semifinals berth in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.

Game time is at 4:00 p.m between fifth place UST (6-4) and sixth seed FEU (5-5), with the winner inching closer to the Final Four while the other moving on the brink of elimination.

Tigresses coach Kungfu Reyes is aware of what’s at stake and will not waste any chance of finally ending a four-year semis drought.

“Kailangan every time, maging all out na sila, kasi second round na ito,” he said. “Kailangan talagang ayusin namin. Otherwise, may pagkaka-lagyan kami pag nagpabaya.”

It’s a close contest for the last two spots as Ateneo is comfortably on top with a 9-2 card and has already secured a spot in the Final Four. Defending champion La Salle is half a game behind at the No. 2 spot (8-2), with National University (7-4) and University of the Philippines (6-5) joining UST and FEU in a tight race for the final two spots to the semis.

“Definitely, lahat ng mga coaches, sinasabihan na trabahuhin natin kasi pare-parehas gustong pumasok ng Final Four eh,” said Reyes. “Hindi naman ‘yun binibigay na ganoon ka-simple, ‘di ba? So trabaho lang talaga, training din.”

UST is coming off a four-set win over also ran Adamson University, while FEU is itching to bounce back from a five-setter loss to Ateneo.

Sisi Rondina and EJ Laure with some help from Mary Dominique Pacres, Christine Francisco and Pam Lastimosa will take care of the Tigresses attack, facing the Lady Tams’ triple threat of Army Palma, Bernadeth Pons and Toni Rose Basas.

Meanwhile, La Salle guns to formally march into the semifinals when it faces listless University of the East in the opening game of the Saturday double-header.

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The Lady Spikers need only one more win to join the Lady Eagles in the next round.

La Salle is heavily favored to win the match at 2:00 p.m., with the Lady Spikers picking up three consecutive wins behind last year’s Finals MVP Kim Dy, Majoy Baron, Ernestine Tiamzon and graduating setter Kim Fajardo.

UE, on the other hand, hopes to play the spoiler’s role and postpone La Salle’s entry in the Final Four.

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