FOR sweeping the group stages, Ateneo gained a big cushion in the carryover quarters of the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Collegiate Conference but the Lady Eagles remain wary of the opposition, including UAAP rivals National U and Far Eastern U and NCAA titlist Arellano U, when the race to the semis begins on Saturday.
"More effort, hard work," said Thai Ateneo coach Tai Bundit after his wards dominated the wnet five-for-five in the group stage
The reigning UAAP champions will carry a 3-0 mark in the quarters but four teams – NU, FEU, Arellano and UST – are close behind with similar 2-1 cards. La Salle Dasmariñas is sixth with a 1-2 card, while St. Benilde and University of the Philippines both hold 0-3 cards.
Ateneo’s other victories over two eliminated teams – San Sebastian and Technological Institute of the Philippines – won’t count in the quarterfinals.
But they remain the solid favorites when Alyssa Valdez and company take on the UP Lady Maroons in the 3 p.m. match.
After missing a game and playing limited minutes in several matches, Valdez wound up fourth in the league's scoring list with 73 points.
St. Benilde's Jannine Navarro leads the way with 89, followed by teammate Jaenette Panaga (81) and National University's Jaja Santiago (80).
Valdez is the also league's fourth-best spiker and third-best server.
The top four after another single round robin will advance to the semis with the No. 1 facing No. 4 and the Nos. 2 and 3 disputing the finals berths in the tournament sponsored by Shakey’s, backed by Mikasa and Accel, and presented by PLDT Home Ultera.
NU kicks off its semifinal drive on Saturday against La Salle-Dasma in the 12:45 p.m. match to be aired live on GMA News TV Channel 11.