Top seed Ateneo de Manila University braces for an all-out war when it clashes with Far Eastern University (FEU) in the Final Four of the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament this Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The collision is a match made in heaven.
In the preliminaries, the Lady Eagles found themselves in trouble as the Lady Tamaraws came out firing and pushed them to the brink of suffering a humiliating setback.
The Lady Eagles managed to survive the scare when open spiker Jho Maraguinot delivered timely hits down the stretch to escape the firepower and airtight defense of the Lady Tamaraws, led by top scorer Bernadeth Pons.
With that, Ateneo is completely aware that FEU would be a tough nut to crack when they slam into each other in this crucial semifinal battle.
Yes, the Lady Tamaraws were the same squad who eliminated erstwhile leader University of the Philippines in this prestigious collegiate tournament.
They also trimmed down the chances of National University, which was bumped off by University of Santo Tomas to formally complete the Final Four cast.
Without a doubt, FEU had perfectly peaked at the right time, which could load more pressure to the Lady Eagles.
Ateneo captain Jia Morado said that all they got to do is to massively prepare against these Lady Tamaraws.
“Yung gagawin na lang namin talaga for that game is to prepare like we always do.”
Ateneo has an intact roster with Michelle Morente, Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino and Maraguinot pacing the assault while Morado serves as chief orchestrator.
Rookie Jules Samonte, meanwhile, could also serve as X-factor following a breakout performance in their recent match with archrival La Salle.
FEU, on the other hand, could bank on Pons, Chin Basas and skipper Remy Palma while promising libero Buding Duremdes mans the floor defense.
Aside from that, FEU coach Shaq Delos Santos’ experiments could also change the complexion of the match.
Morente emphasized that it would surely be a dogfight.
“What can you say? FEU is a really good team. Ang galing ni Pons, ni Palma. Ang sipag nila sa lahat. Each ball talaga, hanggang kaya buhayin, binubuhay nila. It’s going to be a good match again for sure.”