10 a.m. -- SBC vs. UP (Spikers’ Turf)
12 noon -- FEU vs. UPHSD (Spikers’ Turf)
4 p.m. -- NU vs. UST (V-League)
6 p.m. -- ADMU vs. TIP (V-League)
ON the ropes two weeks ago, Ateneo seeks to complete its rise from a 0-2 start in the Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference against Technological Institute of the Philippines in the do-or-die playoff for the last quarterfinals berth today at the Philsports Arena.
Avenging their narrow 24-26, 25-14, 21-25, 25-18, 12-15 loss to the Lady Engineers last Aug. 1 is what on the Lady Eagles minds when the two teams cross paths at 6 p.m.
Defending champion National University and a shorthanded University Santo Tomas kick off their respective semifinal bids in the curtain raiser at 4 p.m.
Ateneo won its two must-win matches in Group A to forge a playoff with TIP, which had a win-loss-win-loss trend in all of its four games in the conference.
“Iniisip naman namin one game at a time, wala talagang pressure for experience lang talaga, kung saan kami maabot ng panalo namin eh ‘di hanggang doon,” said team captain Michelle Morente after the Lady Eagles halted the Lady Bulldogs, 25-15, 27-25, 25-17, at the end of the eliminations last Saturday.
Displaying its “heartstrong” mantra once again, Ateneo hopes to weave its magic to advance in the next round.
“So habang nananalo kami, go lang, laro lang kami, maging masaya kami sa loob ng court, as in wala talagang pressure,” said Morente.
The Lady Eagles opened the post-Alyssa Valdez era without Jho Maraguinot and Bea de Leon, who were sorely missed in the five-set defeat to the Lady Engineers.
Ateneo will continue miss the services of Maraguinot, sidelined by a foot injury, but it will have De Leon back in the fold, a re-energized Morente and an healthy setter Jia Morado to get the job done.
Guest players Mylene Paat and Chie Saet will be the vital cogs for TIP in its quest to get past the eliminations for the first time ever.
Meanwhile, the Lady Bulldogs and the Tigresses, who finished with 3-1 and 2-2 records, respectively, are raring to regain their winning ways after dropping their last matches.
With Jaja Santiago around, NU has a big advantage over UST, which will play minus aces Cherry Rondina and EJ Laure who joined their club team for a week-long Thailand training.
Curiously, Santiago, who are teammates with Rondina and Laure with their club team preparing for an international tournament next month, did not join the trip due to school commitments.