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NU, Ateneo in title rematch

12volleyGames Today (Philsports Arena, Pasig City)
10 a.m. – La Salle vs UST (men’s third place)
12 noon – Ateneo vs NU (men’s finals)
4 p.m. – UP vs FEU (women’s third place)
6 p.m. – Ateneo vs NU (women’s finals)

National University and Ateneo kick off their battle for the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference crown today at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Game 1 of their best-of-three-championship matchup fires off at 6 p.m. with both teams aiming for their respective third crowns in the history of the league.

It would be the second straight time the two teams will be dueling for the crown after clashing last year, with the Lady Bulldogs winning in the deciding Game 3 of the series.

While NU is fancied on paper in this matchup, the ability of Ateneo to rise above the challenge must not be discounted after threading through the eye of the needle en route to the title round.

The Lady Eagles, now on their first season without superstar Alyssa Valdez leading the squad, are on a fairytale run after sweeping heavy favorites Far Eastern University in their best-of-three semis faceoff.

Prior to that, Ateneo battled Technological Institute of the Philippines in the playoffs for the last quarterfinal slot, followed by another playoff match against San Sebastian for the last semis ticket.

Skipper Michelle Morente and setter Jia Morado are expected to lead Ateneo anew following its 25-23, 24-26, 25-19, 25-23 triumph over FEU the last time, while significant help will be provided by Bea De Leon.

But NU has its formidable core composed of 6-foot-4 Jaja Santiago, power-hitting Jorelle Singh, versatile Jasmine Nabor, and all-around Aiko Urdas.

The Lady Bulldogs have lost only once out of nine games, including a three-game sweep of the quarters and their emphatic semis triumph over University of the Philippines.

Interestingly, their lone defeat came at the hands of Ateneo in the group stages, 25-15, 27-25, 25-17.

In the Spikers’ Turf, Ateneo aims for its second straight crown in its 12 noon Game 2 match against NU.

Led by reigning MVP Marck Espejo, the Eagles took Game 1, 16-25, 25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 15-11, last Wednesday. (Kristel Satumbaga)