Lady Spikers, Golden Tigresses collide for last twice-to-beat semis slot

John Bryan Ulanday - Philstar.com
Lady Spikers, Golden Tigresses collide for last twice-to-beat semis slot
UST's Jonna Perdido in action against La Salle.
UAAP Media Bureau

Games Saturday 
(Smart Araneta Coliseum) 
10 a.m. – UP vs UE (men) 
12 p.m. – UST vs DLSU (men) 
2 p.m. – UP vs UE (women)
4 p.m. – UST vs DLSU (women)

MANILA, Philippines – Titleholder La Salle and dark horse University of Santo Tomas dispute the last twice-to-beat bonus in the Final Four when they collide in the highly anticipated duel to cap off the wild elimination rounds of the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Action sizzles at 4 p.m., with the winner securing the other win-once bonus after the red-hot National University rose all the way from No. 3 with a second-round sweep to clinch the first incentive at 12-2.

UST and La Salle, after taking turns in front in the first round, are tied at 11-2 entering the final match — making it a virtual knockout for the coveted reward with the unlucky loser sliding to third place for a twice-to-win handicap in the semis starting next week.

Odds are on the Golden Tigresses, who aside from a thrilling five-setter win to bank on against the Lady Spikers in the first round may also capitalize on their foes’ vulnerability at the moment with the uncertainty of Angel Canino’s status.

Canino, due to a wounded right arm, has missed the last five games for La Salle and there is still no final word on her return despite participating in the pre-game drills last time against Ateneo.

But with or without the reigning MVP, expect the Golden Tigresses to pounce on the Lady Spikers with no regard in a bid to cap their revelation campaign marked by a first-round sweep in their post-Eya Laure era.

“Dito na made-determine kung saan kami pupuwesto so syempre, we’re aming for the twice-to-beat. Sa tatlong teams (with La Salle and NU), kami ‘yung saling pusa so makikigulo lang kami at paninindigan namin ‘yun,” said coach Kungfu Reyes.

Young, still inexperienced and all, Santo Tomas indeed has crashed the party to shake the UAAP order being ruled by La Salle and NU — the last two champions — with super rookie and top MVP contender Angeline Poyos leading the way.

Poyos and the Golden Tigresses will be tested big time against the Shevana Laput-led Lady Spikers, who vowed their readiness with a fully healthy unit or not.

“Kailangan lang gustuhin naming manalo,” said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo, speaking on behalf of legendary mentor Ramil de Jesus.

“Sabi nga namin the last time, may mawala, kailangan may mag-step up. ‘Yung lagi naming sinasabi namin sa kanila, ‘wag lang aalis sa sistema. Basta tuluy-tuloy lang.”

In the men’s play, La Salle (10-3) is also in for a crucial tiff at 12 noon to force a playoff with three-time champion NU (11-3) for the last twice-to-beat when it takes on No. 4 seed UST (8-5). FEU secured the No. 1 spot and the first bonus at 12-2.

In other games, UP (1-12) and UE (2-11) go for graceful swan songs at 2 p.m. in the women’s play as the Fighting Maroons (1-12) and the Warriors (1-12) seek the same goal in the men’s division at 10 a.m.

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