UST Tigresses, FEU Lady Tamaraws battle for final spot in stepladder semis
The UST Tigresses hope to avoid missing the Final Four for the third straight season. Dante Peralta

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University meet in a playoff for the last semis spot on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

FEU and UST, the two schools with the most volleyball titles with 29 and 14, respectively, have missed the Final Four the past few years and now face another early exit.

The Tigresses, out of the Final Four for two years, and Lady Tamaraws, who have missed it three straight seasons,  collide at 4 p.m.

“’Yung achieving our set goal na makapasok sa Fina Four heto na. So one more game kuha na namin ang goal na ’yun. Tapos saka na natin pag-usapan ’yung overachievement,” said UST coach Odjie Mamon.

For the Lady Tamaraws, defense is still the key against the Tigresses, who are second in in the league in blocking and third in digging and setting.

“Mas focused namin ngayon ang depensa,” said FEU coach Shaq delos Santos, whose team ranks fifth in digging and sixth in receiving.

“Kasi ang kailangan namin ang depensa kaysa sa opensa,” he added.

In men’s play, twice-to-beat UST and Ateneo try to score quick wins over their rivals in the Final Four.

UST faces two-time defending champion NU at 10 a.m., while last year’s runner up Ateneo squares off with Adamson at 2 p.m.

Mamon, who is also the head coach of UST men’s team, hopes to prevent a rubber match to keep his players in top shape.

“Ayaw ko na humaba (ang laban) versus NU kasi pagpasok sa Finals pagod na,” he said. “Ang players ko nag-peak na, sakto lang kami.”

“Mature na ang mga players ko, we are also peaking at the right time,” he said.

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