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Ateneo, NU start 3-peat bids in PVL

Games Today
(The Arena, San Juan City)
8 a.m. – UST vs NU (men’s third place)
10 a.m. – Ateneo vs FEU (men’s finals)
4 p.m. – Arellano vs Adamson (women’s third place)
6:30 p.m. – NU vs FEU (women’s finals)

Ateneo and National University take their title-retention bid a notch higher when they face separate foes today in Game 1 of their respective best-of-three finals series in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Blue Eagles try to inch closer to their third straight men’s crown in their 10 a.m. meeting with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws even as the Lady Bulldogs also shoot for their own version of three-peat against the FEU Lady Tams at 6:30 p.m.

Both Ateneo and NU are coming off contrasting semifinal fortunes, with the Eagles needing a deciding Game 3 to outlast the University of Santo Tomas Tigers while the Lady Bulldogs swept past the Arellano Lady Chiefs.

Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro knows it’s difficult to face FEU, which has also a winning tradition.

The Tamaraws have been a power to reckon with in the UAAP in the 80s and 90s and they are eager to reclaim their throne starting this year.

Almadro, however, expects his stalwarts to be more aggressive in all fronts.

“FEU is intact and a high-intensity team,” said Almadro following their 22-25, 25-22, 31-29, 25-13 Game 3 semis win over UST last Monday. “Yung energy nila ang nagdadala sa kanila, so if kaya naming malagpasan yung energy na yon, we’ll have a strong chance in this series.”

Almadro pins his hopes anew on reigning MVP Marck Espejo who returned with a bang in Game 3 after missing Game 2 due to another commitment.

In his return, the 6-foot-2 hard-hitting spiker sizzled with 23 points, including 20 hits.

The Eagles’ winning tradition will also be their advantage with veteran setter Ish Polvorosa also providing ample support along with Ishmael Rivera.

FEU, for its part, is riding on a morale-boosting semis win over last year’s finalist NU.

Out to carry the load for FEU are Redijohn Paler and John Paul Bugaoan.

In women’s action, the NU Lady Bulldogs have Jaja Santiago in their arsenal, but the Lady Tams are still in high spirits after ousting the Adamson Lady Falcons, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-18, in Game 3 of their series with ace spiker Bernadeth Pons and Toni Rose Basas leading the charge.