By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
WHAT has been an eventful and competitive elimination round of Season 80 women’s volleyball of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) comes to a close this weekend with a pair of double-headers.
While the semifinal cast has been settled, the competing teams are still expected to come out fighting whether it is for better position heading into the Final Four or for plain pride and school spirit and something to build on moving forward.
The penultimate play date of the classification phase takes place on April 14, Saturday, at the Blue Eagles Gym in Katipunan, Quezon City.
It will see the University of the Philippines Lady Fighting Maroons (5-8) against the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors (2-11) in the 2 p.m. match to be followed by the Adamson Lady Falcons (5-8) and University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses (4-9).
Incidentally the four teams seeing action were the first ones to be eliminated and are just angling to finish their season on a positive note and along the way give their graduating players a winning exit.
JOCKEYING FOR POSITION
Meanwhile on Sunday, April 15, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws (9-4) and National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs (7-6) get tangled in the 12 noon match at the Mall of Asia Arena to be followed at 4 p.m. by the marquee match between defending champions and league-leading De La Salle Lady Spikers (11-2) and Ateneo Lady Eagles (9-4).
Both FEU and Ateneo need to win in their respective matches to get a shot at finishing in the top two and earn the twice-to-beat incentive that goes with it in the Final Four.
In the event they finish tied either at 10-4 or 9-5, the two go in a playoff for the no. 2 spot, effectively rendering their semifinal matchup a virtual best-of-three.
La Salle is already assured of the top spot and is trying to complete a sweep of the second round and build a huge momentum heading into the playoffs while NU looks to sustain its bounce back following a telling slide midway into the tournament.
“Our objective is to get the twice-to-beat advantage and if we continue to play well we have a very good shot for it,” said FEU coach George Pascua after their easy win over UE on April 11.
“We are happy with the win and getting a Final Four spot after losing so many games. Slowly but surely we are getting back our form and hopefully we can sustain it in our next games,” NU star player Jaja Santiago, for their part, said.