La Salle eyes UAAP Finals slot vs UST
Far from convincing in its last outing, defending champion De La Salle takes on University of Santo Tomas as the women’s volleyball tournament of UAAP Season 79 unveils its Final Four stage on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Spikers, who finished the elimination round with an 11-3 record to gain the second seed, know they will have their hands full even with a twice-to-beat advantage after watching the Tigresses finally find their groove in the second round to reach the Final Four after a four-year absence.
“This is the real battle for us,” said La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus, whose team is eyeing a ninth straight Finals appearance.
Top seed Ateneo and No. 4 Far Eastern U clash in the other Final Four pairing at 4 p.m. on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena. If the two fierce rivals hurdle their opponents this weekend, the best-of-three Finals will start on Saturday.
A UST win will send the Final Four series to a deciding game on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
While La Salle swept UST in the elimination round, the Lady Spikers’ weaknesses were exposed in their previous outing against the Lady Eagles two weeks ago.
In contrast, the Tigresses seem to be peaking at the right time with coach Kungfu Reyes’ wards overcoming favored National U in a thrilling five-setter to secure its first Final Four appearance since 2012.
“We must take the next step and not settle in the Final Four,” said Reyes in Filipino. “We know we can overachieve this year.”
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