UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas head coach Kungfu Reyes is not looking at their slim chance for the twice-to-beat advantage anymore, instead bracing for a daunting Final Four showdown with defending champion De La Salle in UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
UST ended its elimination round with a 27-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16 victory over National University on Saturday to finish with a 10-4 win-loss record and stay in hunt for the last twice-to-beat advantage, which depends on the last match of second placer La Salle (10-3) against No. 4 Far Eastern University (8-5) on Sunday.
If the defending champion Lady Spikers lose, there will be a playoff for the last twice-to-beat advantage on Wednesday.
But regardless of what seed they will end up in the Final Four, Reyes stressed that his wards are ready for a semifinals showdown with the Lady Spikers next weekend.
“Laban na to, regardless kung ano maging outcome, kasi ang importante, sabi nga namin, isecure namin yung 10th win namin,” Reyes said. “So another story na pagdating ng semis kasi mag-iiba na yung trend ng laro, mag-iiba na yung bakbakan.”
“Kung makuha nila yung twice-to-beat, so be it. Tatrabahuin na lang namin,” he added.
It is going to be a possible Season 79 Final Four rematch between La Salle and UST that was led by a third year Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure’s elder sister EJ, who has been out for two seasons.
Reyes hopes to live up to their ‘Kami Naman’ battle cry this season against La Salle with Rondina eager for a Finals appearance in her last playing year and Eya seeking to lead UST all the way to the top.
“So we’ve been there two years ago. Nawala kami last year pero siguro ngayon mas buo kami na kahit papano. It’s a pleasure for us to play with the defending champions,” he said. “Yun naman ang tinitignan namin dun. Even kami this season, 1-1 kami, so magkakaalaman na ngayong semis.”
Heading back to the Final Four after missing it last season, Reyes said that the Tigresses are now in the polishing stage and in high spirits entering their biggest challenge, where they seek to prove that they belong in the semifinals.
“Hopefully, approaching Final Four, masasabi namin na pang-Final Four na kami,” he said.