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Surging Ateneo meets slumping Adamson

By Dugout Philippines

PASAY--Ateneo shoots for its fifth straight victory as the defending two-time champions takes on a struggling Adamson University side on Saturday in the UAAP Season 78 women's volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Gametime is at 2 p.m., followed by an interesting match-up between National University and University of Santo Tomas at 4 p.m.

With reigning MVP Valdez leading the way along with middles Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag, Amy Ahomiro and setter Jia Morado, the Lady Eagles streaked to four straight wins this season and 22 consecutive since March 2014.

Ateneo, the league's top spiking team, is coming off a 25-19, 25-21, 25-21 conquest of Katipunan neighbor University of the Philippines last Sunday.

The Lady Falcons, on the other hand, bowed to the Lady Maroons, 24-26, 27-25, 20-25, 19-25, last Wednesday to drop in a tie with the Tigresses in sixth place at 1-3.

Known for its patented floor defense, there are times that Adamson University crumbling, especially during crucial stretches, which is a cause of concern for coach Sherwin Meneses.

The Lady Eagles will watch out on Jema Galanza and Mylene Paat, who combined for 48 points the last time out for the Lady Falcons.

"You know what Adamson can do," said Valdez, who scored a career-high 35 points against the Lady Falcons three years ago.

"Yung defense talaga nila, walang palya. Every game, in my four years in the UAAP, they really give us a good fight."

Coach Roger Gorayeb is satisfied on the Lady Bulldogs' showing this season.

After losing to Ateneo in the opener, NU toppled Adamson, De La Salle and University of the East in succession to move in second place.

The Tigresses, meanwhile, opened the season with three straight losses.

UST then finally give its new coach Kungfu Reyes his first collegiate win with a 25-18, 25-8, 25-23 win over University of the East last Sunday.

Towering Jaja Santiago, Jorelle Singh, Myla Pablo and libero Bia General will banner the Lady Bulldogs, while EJ Laure, Cherry Rondina, Ria Meneses and a revitalized Carmela Tunay will spearhead the Tigresses.

"Yung UST, may pride ang mga iyan. Malaking bagay ang pride sa isang player, young confidence level, tumataas," said Gorayeb.

In men's play, old rivals Far Eastern University and UST take on the floor at 10 a.m. while NU plays UP at 8 a.m.

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