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    Ateneo looks to sustain streak, faces well-rested La Salle in stepladder semis

    Jun 16, 2022
    Coach Oliver Almadro hope to finally get a win over coach Ramil de Jesus this season.

    ATENEO and La Salle cross paths anew on Thursday, this time with larger stakes in the second phase of the UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball stepladder semis.

    It's expected to be a slam bang affair especially with the Blue Eagles and the Lady Spikers fighting for the chance to earn a return trip to the finals.

    See Eya Laure non-committal on future after UST exit from playoffs

    The match starts at 6:30 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena.

    La Salle is coming in as the favorites for the clash after taking both elimination-round matches, 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20 in the first round on opening day last May 5 and 19-25, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, 15-12 in the second round in June 7.

    Things to know about this intense battle.

    DREAMING LIKE 76: Surviving three knockout matches, Ateneo will look to win a fourth one as the Blue Eagles hope to replicate their Cinderella run back in UAAP Season 76 in 2014 when they climbed the stepladder and won the championship — against La Salle no less. The cast is certainly a different one, but Faith Nisperos and co. admit that the squad is drawing inspiration from that climb as they try to keep their title retention bid alive.

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    GREAT GREEN WALL: AC Miner has been a revelation on the net for Ateneo, but La Salle is the best blocking team. Thea Gagate, who leads the league in blocks with 0.60 per set, and Fifi Sharma, who ranks third with her 0.50, should be a big headache for the Blue Eagles as the Lady Spikers lean on their net defense to deny those fiery Blue Eagle hitters.

    UNDER PRESSURE: La Salle is coming in with a twice-to-beat incentive after finishing the eliminations at second. But the Taft spikers have not played in a week, with their last outing ending in a loss against Adamson. Pair that with the groove that Ateneo has been in for the past two weeks and as favored as the Lady Spikers are in this match, the girls of coach Ramil de Jesus will have to be at their A-game to avoid squandering this edge and see a potential do-or-die Game Two.

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    Coach Oliver Almadro hope to finally get a win over coach Ramil de Jesus this season.
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