AND they meet again.

UAAP rivals De La Salle University (DLSU) and University of Santo Tomas (UST) drubbed their respective foes to arrange a semifinal battle in the 2023 Shakey’s Super League (SSL) National Invitationals yesterday (Aug. 2) at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Shevana Laput and Thea Gagate spearheaded the barrage anew as the reigning UAAP champion De La Salle scored another sweep at the expense of Mindanao qualifier Jose Maria College Foundation, 25-18, 25-14, 25-19, in only 67 minutes of play.

Behind a scattered onslaught, the Golden Tigresses followed suit in the next game by holding off NAASCU champion Enderun Colleges with a 25-13, 25-16, 21-25, 25-14 win.

De La Salle and UST, which also battled in the UAAP Season 85 Final Four, will duke it out for a finals seat on Friday. It’s actually UST that dealt De La Salle its lone loss in a near-perfect run.

It’s the third straight sweep for De La Salle — without a single set allowed — after wiping out Pool A of the 12-team SSL presented by Eurotel as the official hotel and Victory Liner as office transport provider, and in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

On the other hand, Angeline Poyos (18) showed the way with Regina Jurado (10) and Athena Abbu (9) providing coverage. Xyza Gula, Jonna Perdido and Maribeth Hilongo added eight points apiece for UST.

Top seeds Adamson (Pool C) and NCAA champion College of St. Benilde (Pool D) were to clash against CESAFI champion University of San Jose-Recoletos and University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, respectively, in the other semifinal pairings. — John Bryan Ulanday