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Ateneo favored over NU

  • Written by Theodore P. Jurado
  • Published in Volleyball
  • Read: 221

Games today:

(Philsports Arena)

10 a.m. -- DLSU vs. UST (Spikers’ Turf 3rd Place)

12 noon -- ADMU vs. NU (Spikers’ Turf Finals)

4 p.m. -- UP vs. FEU (V-League 3rd Place)

6 p.m. -- ADMU vs. NU (V-League Finals)

ATENEO seeks to sustain its improbable run in the Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference as it meets defending champion National University in the opener of their best-of-three title series today at the Philsports Arena.

With a talented core of 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago, Jorelle Singh, Aiko Urdas, Jasmine Nabor and Risa Sato, the Lady Bulldogs set out for their 6 p.m. clash the slight favorites against an over-achieving Lady Eagles side.
Ateneo dealt NU’s lone setback in the group stages, a 25-15, 27-25, 25-17 shocker to stay in the quarterfinals race.
The Lady Eagles also stunned San Sebastian in another KO match to barge into the semifinals of the mid-season conference.
Ateneo capped its amazing run with a two-game sweep of top seed Far Eastern University side in the Final Four to earn a chance for a payback against the Lady Bulldogs, which swept the Lady Eagles in the decider in last year’s Finals behind Myla Pablo.
NU assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad acknowledges the need of his troops to correct their mistakes in that setback against Ateneo.
“It was a learning experience for us. We’re looking forward to playing them again,” said Mabbayad, who handled the Lady Bulldogs’ V-League championship run in 2013 also against the Lady Eagles.
Already survived without superstar Alyssa Valdez, Ateneo will be more than ready to face off with NU anew, its confidence boosted by a string of victories that lined itself up for another crack at the crown.
“It’s all about playing with heart,” said Lady Eagles skipper Michelle Morente after completing their surprise sweep of the Lady Tamaraws.
With Kim Gequillana, Ana Gopico, Bea de Leon, Jules Samonte, Jia Morado and Ponggay Gaston dishing out one big game after another, Ateneo could be in for a grand finish on its fifth championship appearance in the  last six years.
Like the Lady Eagles, the Lady Bulldogs also eliminated University of the Philippines in two games in the Final Four, to clinch their fourth consecutive title series stint.
Game 2 is set on Wednesday while a deciding Game 3, if necessary, will be played on Saturday, all at 6 p.m. at the Philsports Arena.
FEU and UST also start their own series for the bronze medal at 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, Ateneo guns for a sweep of NU and a second straight Spikers’ Turf championship in Game 2 scheduled at 12 noon.
With leading MVP candidate Marck Espejo’s 20-hit outburst, the Blue Eagles edged the Bulldogs, 16-25, 25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 15-11, in last week’s opener.