Here's a "By The Numbers" look at the PLDT Home Ambassadors' elimination round performances.
The intensity of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament will turn a notch higher when the Final Four presented by PLDT Home begins on Saturday, April 22.
The no. 1 seed Ateneo de Manila University and no. 2 seed De La Salle University each hold a twice-to-beat advantage going into the semis because of their elimination round dominance. But don’t count out the lower-seeded University of Sto. Tomas (3), and Far Eastern University (4) just yet.
Expected to make the semis even more exciting are the PDLT Home Ultera Ambassadors and UAAP Season 79’s biggest stars, Jho Maraguinot of Ateneo, Kim Fajardo of DLSU, EJ Laure of UST, and Bernadeth Pons of FEU.
Throughout the elimination round, they have risen above everyone with their individual display of skill and mastery of their craft.
The Final Four is where these stars can ascend even more, with hopes of propelling their squads into the next level.
Here's a deeper look into each star's individual numbers, to provide a glimpse of what's to come in the Final Four:
Ateneo Lady Eagles' win-loss slate.
The Lady Eagles seemingly breezed through their elimination round opponents with the exception of the National Lady Bulldogs, who swept their series against Ateneo but fell short in their Final Four bid. Other than those two losses inflicted by NU, Ateneo had the answer to every challenge they faced.
Number of sets Ateneo and Final Four opponent FEU fought through in their elimination round meetings.
In their first round clash last February 12, Ateneo de Manila showed its heartstrong mentality surviving FEU in a five-set match. PLDT Home Ultera Ambassador Jho Maraguinot led the Lady Eagles in scoring, firing off 18 points from 16 attacks.
In their second round tiff last March 18, Maraguinot against proved to be the x-factor, exploding for 23 points off 19 attacks, providing timely offense down the stretch for the Katipunan-based squad’s five-set win.
DLSU's rank in the setting department
When it comes to direct setting excellence, PDLT Home Ultera Ambassador Kim Fajardo may actually hold the advantage over rival playmaker Jia Morado.
Anchored by Kim Fajardo's stellar playmaking, the DLSU Lady Spikers are on top of the setting department, with 12.15 sets per frame, with the Jia Morado-led Ateneo de Manila on second place at 11.41.
Service aces fired by Kim Fajardo
Kim Fajardo doesn't just connect on her sets, she's also extremely dependable on the service line.
Thank her veteran savvy, her years of experience for the feat, as the KAFtain led the league in points off first takes, firing off 35 service aces throughout the elims topping everyone with 0.76 service aces per set.
The combined total points of UST's one-two punch.
PLDT Home Ultera Ambassador EJ Laure and captain Cherry Rondina proved to be España's killer combo, finishing third and fourth on the Best Scorers list respectively to haul the Tigresses to their first semifinals appearance in four years.
Laure scattered 192 points throughout the elimination round, mostly through her signature laser-accurate hits while Rondina cherry bombed her way to 191 points.
Total points scored by Bernadeth Pons
Bernadeth Pons may not be the highest scorer in the league, but she’s only second to none other than NU’s Jaja Santiago (268 points), who is a six-foot-five specimen who decided to have a breakout season while the FEU hitter is 5’7” tall.
When you consider the creativity and the array of attacks she uses: from sneaky off-speeds to powerful hammers, her quick-thinking and craftiness is second to none.
Rank of Bernadeth Pons on the Best Receivers list.
With Pons being the league's second best attacker, it’s mind-boggling how tenacious she can still be on defense. Ranking behind the likes of reception specialists Dawn Macandili, Desiree Cheng of De La Salle, and UE's Kath Arado, Pons finished 4th overall on the best receivers in the league.
Pons has already shown her ability to make split-second decisions while airborne during an attack, but her quickness also translates to FEU's stellar floor defense to complement middle blocker Remy Palma's intimidating presence at the net.
Again, this is the Final Four, and these stars want nothing more than to build on what they have achieved throughout the season to take over games, if the need arises.
With the semis match-ups pitting star against star, expect the PLDT Home Ultera Ambassadors to put on individual displays of skill, grit, and creativity that only players of their caliber can truly show.
Catch the UAAP season 79 women’s volleyball Final Four presented by PLDT Home live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream.