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Ateneo begins tough sked against UST

By Dugout Philippines

Defending champion Ateneo, on course for an outright championship berth, takes on UST in the UAAP Season 77 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Opening a week-long, three-game stretch, the Lady Eagles are favored to go 12-0 in their 4 p.m. duel with the Tigresses, who are seeking to stay in the hunt for a spot in the semifinals.

The race for the two remaining post-season slots is still in a dead heat, as UST is locked in a three-way tie in fourth place at 5-6 along with Adamson and NU.

La Salle, which like Ateneo is also in the semifinals, takes on winless UE in the first match at 2 p.m.

If they beat the Tigresses, the Lady Eagles still need to prevail over the Lady Warriors on Sunday and the Lady Spikers in the last game of a rare tripleheader on Feb. 18 at the Mall of Asia Arena to securer an outright passage the Finals with a tremendous thrice-to-beat edge.

Ateneo is coming off a 25-23, 25-21, 25-23 win over FEU last week to stay perfect in 11 starts.

UST, on the other hand, had its four-game winning streak halted by La Salle, a 21-25, 9-25, 18-25 loss also a week ago.

Trying to keep on improving in their remaining elimination round assignments even without injured middle hitter Bea de Leon by simply following coach Tai Bundit’s gameplan to the dot is what on the Lady Eagles’ skipper Alyssa Valdez’s mind at the moment.

“For us in the team, we think na ginagawa ni coach Tai ang part niya, while ginagawa din ang part namin. Kailangan naming mag-meet halfway, para maging maganda ang result every game” said Valdez, the reigning MVP.

Veterans Pam Lastimosa, Carmela Tunay, Ria Meneses, Jessey de Leon and rookie EJ Laure will be the vital cogs for the Tigresses to get back on the winning track.