TOP seed Ateneo look to deal No. 4 Far Eastern University a quick blow in the Final Four of UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
For the third straight year, the Lady Eagles and Lady Tamaraws collide in the semifinals.
This time, it’s Oliver Almadro in charge of the Lady Eagles.
Last season a Bernadeth Pons-led FEU prevented Ateneo from reaching the finals, but Almadro is confident the squad led by seniors Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon can do the job this time.
The Lady Eagles defeated the Lady Tamaraws twice in the elimination round and earned a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals after finishing 12-2 in the eliminations.
FEU coach George Pascua is counting on graduating players Jerrili Malabanan, Heather Guino-o and Kyle Negrito to take charge and finally stop Ateneo.
The Lady Tamaraws finished No. 4 with a 9-5 win-loss record capped by a morale-boosting win over La Salle.
Meanwhile, the No. 2 FEU battles No.3 Ateneo in the men’s Final Four at 2 p.m.
The Tamaraws, who are holding the twice-to-beat advantage for the second straight season, hope to get the job done this time after the Blue Eagles led by Marck Espejo managed to topple them in the 2018 semifinals.
Coach Rey Diaz banks on Richard Solis, Redijohn Paler, Jude Garcia, JP Bugaoan and setter Owen Suarez to lead FEU to the finals for the first time in six years.
Even without Espejo, the Blue Eagles remain a strong contender with Tony Koyfman, Ron Medalla, John Rivera, Chumason Njigha and Lawrence Magadia. Ateneo and FEU split their elimination-round matches.