Unbeaten Ateneo Lady Eagles eye win No. 12 as they battle UST Tigresses in UAAP women's volleyball
Alyssa Valdez and the Lady Eagles have three elimination-round matches left to play. Dante Peralta 

DEFENDING champion Ateneo tries to move a step closer to a sweep of the eliminations and an outright finals berth when it takes on Final Four contender University of Sto. Tomas on Wednesday in the UAAP Season 77 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Eagles, unbeaten in 11 matches, have secured a spot in the semifinals and are three wins away from a sweep.

Their three remaining elimination-round matches will be played in a span of eight days, as Ateneo faces cellar-dwelling University of the East on Sunday and second-running La Salle on Feb. 18.

The match starts at 4 p.m., after the clash between early semifinalist La Salle and bottom also-ran UE at 2 o’clock.

The race for the two remaining semifinal spots remain tight, with UST in a three-way tie for third place at 5-6 with Adamson University and National University.

Ateneo is coming off a 25-23, 25-21, 25-23 win over Far Eastern University last week.

UST, on the other hand, had its four-match winning streak halted by La Salle, a 21-25, 9-25, 18-25.

Middle hitter Bea de Leon is out with an injured left index finger, but Lady Eagles slipper Alyssa Valdez is confident they can sustain the run.

“For us in the team, we think na ginagawa ni coach Tai ang part niya, while ginagawa din ang part namin. Kailangan naming mag-meet halfway, para maging maganda ang result every game” said Valdez, the reigning MVP.

Veterans Pam Lastimosa, Carmela Tunay, Ria Meneses, Jessey de Leon and rookie EJ Laure will be the vital cogs for the Tigresses to get back on the winning track. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph