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UAAP Stepladder Playoffs Preview: UST vs. FEU

By Ivan Saldajeno

Thanks to Ateneo's nerve-wracking win against La Salle, we have a stepladder playoff format in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament, and thanks to UST's victory against UE, the postseason was extended by adding a battle for fourth. Enter the Tigresses and the FEU Lady Tamaraws. Both teams will dispute the right to face the NU Lady Bulldogs in the next round. Here are some tidbits before the knockout match.

What Now: Let's jump straight to their road to the postseason. UST started out flat. After a season-opening win, the Tigresses lost four straight with Coach Odjie Mamon's reliable veterans led by Pam Lastimosa not clicking. The vets responded and gave super rookie EJ Laure great help. UST later canceled the slump with a four-game winning streak, putting the team in the thick of playoff things. Another three-game losing streak almost put the Tigresses' playoff hopes in peril, but the win against the Lady Warriors kept them afloat.

On the other hand, FEU was ice-cold in the season. Luckily, UST and some others were also topsy-turvy, surprisingly keeping FEU in the title race. Back-to-back wins against the UP Lady Maroons and the Adamson Lady Falcons gave the Lady Tams a crack for the championship, although it's gonna be a long one.

Key Match-Up: EJ Laure vs. Bernadette Pons-FEU found an anchor for its future in Bernadette Pons, while UST also found one in Laure. Do expect Pons and Laure to pile up points in this exciting match.

Other Stats: Watch out for the UST veterans in this one. If there will be one game for Lastimosa, Ria Meneses, and the rest of the seniors to prove their worth in the now Laure-powered Tigresses squad, it should be this one. Recent history could be an ally too. UST is 2-0 against FEU this season.