Games Friday
(Rizal Memorial Coliseum)
9 a.m. — AU vs ADMU
11 a.m. — UE vs CSB
2 p.m. — AdU vs FEU
5 p.m. — NU vs UST

REIGNING champion National University (NU) and challenger University of Santo Tomas (UST) lock horns in an all-UAAP duel as the Shakey’s Super League (SSL) Collegiate Pre-Season Championship reaches a thrilling finale on Friday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.

Game time is at 5 p.m. with the NU Lady Bulldogs looking to draw first blood in the quick best-of-three titular showdown and move closer to another perfect season.

NU swept the inaugural season capped by a dominant finale show against De La Salle University before drawing another UAAP rival in UST this time for the crown of SSL Season 2.

Included in NU’s amazing run that season was a 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 25-17 win over UST in the knockout semifinals.

This season, the NU Lady Bulldogs reasserted their mastery of the UST Golden Tigresses with an easy 25-19, 25-20, 25-16 win in the pool play as part of their immaculate campaign so far through eight games without any single set yielded.

But preserving a perfect run so far is not the goal, warned coach Norman Miguel, as the NU Lady Bulldogs want no less than the ultimate championship prize regardless of the sets needed to do it.

Against all odds though, the Kungfu Reyes-mentored UST squad is out to give NU a run for its own money, especially riding on the momentum of a two-game winning streak from a near elimination just to earn a shot at the defending champion.

The twice-to-beat-armed Golden Tigresses, after absorbing a 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 11-15 loss against College of St. Benilde (CSB) in Game 1 of the quarterfinals, retaliated with a 25-15, 25-16, 19-25, 32-30 win in Game 2 before edging out Far Eastern University (FEU) in the knockout semis, 25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 25-20.

Meanwhile, Far Easter University and Adamson University (AdU) slug it out for a podium finish at 2 p.m. in the bronze medal match, also under a best-of-three series.

In other games, Ateneo and Arellano battle for the seventh spot at 9 a.m. followed by the duel between CSB and the University of the East (UE) at 11 a.m. — John Bryan Ulanday