Can UST keep their twice-to-beat hopes alive?

The NU Lady Bulldogs ended the UP Lady Maroons’ Final Four hopes before the Holy Week break. With the Easter season in full swing, they look to crucify the twice-to-beat aspirations of the UST Golden Tigresses.

But the current Espana crew has resurrected the volleyball program that has dominated in the 1990s. They are going back to the Final Four after a one-year absence, thanks largely to the dynamic duo of Cherry Ann Rondina and Eya Laure.

Previous encounter

UST defeated NU in four sets during their first round clash last March 9. Laure led the Golden Tigresses with 20 points while Rondina and Dimdim Pacres added 16 and 12, respectively. Meanwhile, Ivy Lacsina and Princess Robles had 14 each for the Lady Bulldogs. NU committed 38 errors in the entire game while UST dominated in attack points, 47-36.

Rust could be a factor

It’s been ten days since these two teams played. That could translate into sloppy play in the opening set. Both teams are coming off victories, though. NU defeated UP in another five-setter while UST outclassed FEU in three. The latter match was anti-climactic as both teams clinched their Final Four berth after UP’s loss.

What’s at stake for the Golden Tigresses?

A UST victory over NU maintains their hopes of taking the second seed. A play-off for that spot which merits a twice-to-beat advantage will ensue if UST wins over NU and the De La Salle University Lady Spikers fall against FEU.

Feather in the cap for NU’s season

If it happens, Lady Bulldogs over UST has statement win written all over it. It would be a nice end for a squad that faced countless odds before and during the tournament. Losing Risa Sato due to academic concerns trimmed their roster to 12. Their troubles worsened when Joyme Cagande got injured in their opener against FEU. Despite the handicaps they faced, a potential fifth win speaks volumes about the team’s potential for years to come.

Keys to victory for UST

Rondina and Laure will take turns in breaking down the NU wall. But they must limit their attack errors to not give free points. The Lady Bulldogs play well when the score is close and the Golden Tigresses must keep the upstart squad grounded. UST should get middle hitters Caitlyn Viray and Kecelyn Galdones involved in offense. Finally, their receiving game is suspect as of late and they must address that concern.

How can NU pull off the upset?

Lacsina, Gelina Luceno, and Roselyn Doria will do their best to slow down UST’s attack. However, the rest of the Lady Bulldogs must provide support to Robles and Jennifer Nierva on floor defense. Their two-receiver set-up might spell trouble against the top serving team in UAAP Season 81. Therefore, the wards of Coach Norman Miguel must make Joni Chavez’ job easier with excellent digging and superb passing.

Where will the game be played?

UST and NU will play at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Those who will be watching in the venue can ride a G-Liner, RRCG, or Green Star bus straight to the venue. You can also ride the LRT Line 2 up to J. Ruiz station and ride a tricycle from there. You can buy tickets at the venue.

Where to watch the UST-NU game?

If you can’t make it to the venue, the UST Golden Tigresses-NU Lady Bulldogs encounter will be televised via ABS-CBN S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD, and via livestream at the ABS-CBN Sports website. Broadcast starts at 2 pm.