By CARLO ANOLIN
National University shoots for an outright finals berth when it takes on third-seeded University of Santo Tomas Thursday to cap off the elimination round of the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Match is set at 4 p.m. with the Lady Bulldogs out to a fulfill a date with destiny – a feat never been accomplished since the time of the towering Jaja Santiago.
But it won’t be easy.
That’s because the Tigresses intend to play spoiler in NU’s quest of creating a stepladder format in the post-season.
Whether NU completes the sweep or not, Season 84 already marks the best finish in the elimination round for the Jhocson-based squad since Season 76, where it secured second-seed and a twice-to-beat advantage at 12-2 record.
The Lady Bulldogs are currently unscathed in 13 matches while the Tigresses have a 9-4 record.
Despite being on the cusp of having an automatic ticket to the Finals, NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan instilled the same mindset to his wards not to be complacent and disregard the standings.
“‘Di muna namin iniiisip ‘yong sweep namin. Nag-iisip kami one game at a time muna kami para ‘di na rin ma-pressure,” said Dimaculangan, who will continue to lean on the a rookie-laden core in Princess Robless, Michaela Belen, Alyssa Solomon, Ivy Lacsina, Camille Lamina, and Jen Nierva, among others. “Magre-ready lang kami. Para sa’min naman, trabaho lang. Kung ano man maging reuslts, consequence na ‘yon ng mga pinaghirapan namin siguro.”
The Tigresses, however, need consistent contributions not only from Eya Laure but also from the likes of Imee Hernandez, Ypril Tapia, and Ysa Jimenez, and KC Galdones.
Meanwhile, Adamson and Ateneo go for the fourth and last semis berth when they clash against their respective rivals. Both teams tote similar 7-6 records.
The Lady Falcons face second-seeded La Salle Lady Spikers (10-3) at 12:30 p.m. while the Blue Eagles clash with the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons (5-8) at 6:30 p.m.
Should Adamson and Ateneo emerge victorious in their respective matches, a playoff contention between the two will take place before the Final Four proceeds.