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La Salle spikers eye UAAP finals

Game Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4 p.m. – La Salle vs UST

Defending champion La Salle hopes to make short work of University of Santo Tomas and clinch a ninth consecutive finals appearance as the Final Four of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament starts today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The match is set at 4 p.m. with the Lady Spikers needing to beat the Tigresses to advance to the best-of-three championship series.

Back in the Final Four after a lengthy absence, the Tigresses have to put a Herculean effort to beat the Lady Spikers two in a row.

La Salle is favored to beat UST in their semis duel, but is entering the match with something to prove after losing to archrival Ateneo, 12-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19, in the final day of the eliminations exactly two weeks ago.

The loss allowed Ateneo to secure the top seed in the Final Four with a 12-2 record and a date with Far Eastern University in the other pairing slated tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Coach Ramil de Jesus, whose Lady Spikers finished the elims at 11-3, called on his team to finally display their sharpest form with the Tigresses expected to make it a tough encounter.

“Ito na yung mas mabigat na laban. Wala na kaming time para mag-relax pa, so kailangan hindi na kami magpatalo dito,” said De Jesus.

La Salle prevailed over UST in straight sets in their two elims meetings, but the Tigresses are expected to become more dangerous following their 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-12 knockout victory over the National University Lady Bulldogs that earned them a semis berth.

UST coach Kungfu Reyes and his stalwarts are unfazed of the challenge, with Reyes saying they are using that morale-boosting triumph as a springboard in their campaign to end their seven-year title drought.

“Iba na yung storya ng labanan ngayon kasi semis na. Hindi na to basta-basta. Kung sino ang kukurap, yun ang madidisgrasya kaya kami, paghahandaan namin na hanggang sa dulo, magiging dikdikan lalo na at La Salle ang kalaban namin,” said Reyes, whose team finished sixth last year.