UAAP: UST, NU, La Salle make last push for Final Four incentive
RACE TO 12

UAAP: UST, NU, La Salle make last push for Final Four incentive

NU Lady Bulldogs UAAP

NU Lady Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament. – MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) hopes in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament was always going to run through La Salle.

But, no doubt, it was a stunning upset to Far Eastern University (FEU) last Saturday that rocked the Tigresses’ quest for twice-to-beat protection in the Final Four.

Even if UST coach KungFu Reyes sees things differently.

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“We did not lose the game, we learned from it,” said Reyes in Filipino, after dropping a five-setter to the Lady Tamaraws over the weekend. “We reminded [the players] to look straight, chin up. We lost but we have our takeaways to bring moving forward.”

READ: UAAP: Race for top two gets tighter after NU finally beats La Salle

The Final Four cast is complete and it’s the final ranking of semifinalists that will be settled in the last two weeks of the preliminary round.

Itching for payback

And for UST (10-2, win-loss), La Salle (9-2) and National University (NU) (10-2), the target is getting into the top two.

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The number of wins needed to claim playoff protection without complications? 12.

UST, which led for the majority of the tournament, has a 10-2 (win-loss) card with two games remaining, meaning it would have to sweep its remaining matches to get to 12 wins. And one of those games is against the defending champions, who have been itching for payback after dropping a heartbreaking five-setter to the Tigresses in the first round.

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SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 volleyball second round

NU’s 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-22 victory over La Salle last Sunday left the teams in the top three with two losses each. And because of that FEU upset, at least one of the top three teams will end up with three losses, making the UST-La Salle showdown a key decider. The Lady Bulldogs seem to have the inside track after getting back at the two squads that beat them in the first round. NU has been unbeaten so far in the second round.

“This win over La Salle is a huge confidence booster to us knowing that it is a champion team,” NU standout Bella Belen said in Filipino after her team’s latest victory. “

What we still need is consistency since we still have games left in the elimination.”

Easier assignments

The Lady Bulldogs will have the relatively easier closing assignments as they face eliminated Adamson next before wrapping up the preliminaries against the Lady Tamaraws.

UST battles University of the East before taking on La Salle.

The Lady Spikers, meanwhile, have Adamson, fierce rival Ateneo and UST as their last three foes.

“We are telling the Lady Spikers that what we are going to experience in the next games won’t be easy,” La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo said. “We have to work hard to get the twice-to-beat.”

Star scorer Angel Canino remains doubtful for La Salle after she was sidelined by an undisclosed arm injury.

FEU is mathematically in the hunt for a twice-to-beat incentive, but realistically, the fight should boil down to the current top three squads.

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The Lady Tamaraws are using the Final Four as a platform to resuscitate FEU’s glory days in the sport. INQ

TAGS: Sports, Volleyball

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