Lady Bulldogs, Lady Eagles begin title clash
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 12, 2016 07:40 AM
Defending champion National University and Ateneo de Manila open their best-of-three title showdown.
National University hopes to use its edge in manpower and experience while Ateneo de Manila will lean on its big fighting heart and hustle as they open their best-of-three series of the 13th V-League Collegiate Conference Finals at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City Monday.
With a talented core of Jaja Santiago, Jorelle Singh, Aiko Urdas, rising star Jasmine Nabor and rookie Fil-Japanese sensation Risa Sato, the defendin champion Lady Bulldogs set out for their 6:00 p.m. clash the slight favorites with assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad expected to exploit their edge against an over-achieving Lady Eagles side.
The match will air live over Sports & Action Channel 23, Sports & Action HD Channel 166 and via livestream on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/vleague.
Ateneo de Manila was not expected to reach this point with a depleted lineup with Jho Maraguinot down with an injury and still rebuilding after the departure of hitter Alyssa Valdez and middle Amy Ahomiro.
But the Lady Eagles proved their critics wrong as they survived two knockout games, booting out Technological Institute of the Philippines to advance in the quarterfinals before taking down San Sebastian College for the last semis spot.
The Loyola-based squad swept Far Eastern University, 25-14, 28-26, 25-22, and 25-23, 24-26, 25-19, 25-23, to forge a title series rematch with the Lady Bulldogs, which they defeated in the group stage, 25-15, 27-25, 25-17.
Ateneo will rely on skipper Michelle Morente, Kim Gequillana, Ana Gopico, Bea de Leon, Pauline Gaston, Jia Morado and Julianne Samonte in their attempt to win the crown after missing their chance last year in three games.
NU is coming off a five-game winning streak since dropping their match against Ateneo in the prelims.
The Lady Bulldogs disposed University of the Philippines in a series sweep, 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 26-24, and 21-25, 25-10, 27-25, 25-21.
Focus will be on 6-foot-5 Santiago, who averaged 23.5 points in the semis, as she sets out to give NU its second straight conference title after gaining international exposure in the 2016 AVC Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship.
Game Two is set on Wednesday while a deciding Game Three, if necessary, will be played on Saturday, all at Philsports.
Meanwhile, the battle for third between FEU and UP begins at 4:00 p.m.