Spotlight on rivalry
Fierce rivals Ateneo and La Salle square off Saturday for more than just school pride.
The overall lead at the end of the UAAP women’s volleyball elimination first round will be at stake when the Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles clash at Mall of Asia Arena at 4 p.m.
Sharing league-best 5-1 records, the Lady Eagles and the Lady Spikers will also go for a victory that will give them momentum going into the second round of a tournament that has defied preseason rankings with several surprising results.
La Salle’s only defeat so far this season came at the hands of a University of the Philippines squad that was touted to top the first round.
But the Lady Maroons eventually fell to Ateneo, which has leapfrogged at least three schools penciled to finish better than the Lady Eagles at this point of the tournament.
But save for a loss to a suddenly struggling National U, the Lady Eagles have made a good account of themselves in their first season minus superstar Alyssa Valdez.
In the other match at 2 p.m., FEU guns for a third straight win when it tangles with University of Santo Tomas, which is also on a two-game win streak.
Although FEU has been pegged as one of the title favorites, the Lady Tams are not expected to steal the spotlight from the La Salle-Ateneo duel.
The archrivals have battled in the last five championships, with defending champion La Salle snapping a back-to-back feat by Ateneo.
“When you’re facing La Salle, you have to have a high level of confidence, and hope you sustain it all match,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sherwin Meneses.
La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus said the match will depend on which team passes well.
“It’s in the system, both setters are good, they have Morado, we have Fajardo. Whoever gets good passes gets the play,” he added.
La Salle lost key players Mika Reyes and Ara Galang to graduation.
But the Lady Spikers still have the likes of Kim Dy, Fajardo, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili going up against Jia Morado, Bea de Leon, Jho Maraguinot, Michelle Morente and Kat Tolentino.
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