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UAAP: Race to Season 86 Final Four continues

by Bryan Gadingan

THE hunt for the last UAAP Season 86 Volleyball Final Four slot is heating up, with three teams having already claimed their playoff spots after the second elimination round. 

Photo Courtesy: UAAP Media Group

Currently, the UST Golden Tigresses are leading the second elimination round with a 10-1 win-loss record. The DLSU Lady Spikers are second with a 9-1 record, while the NU Lady Bulldogs are third with a 9-2 record. 

These teams have already secured their spot in the Final Four. However, the final standing of each team, which will determine who receives the twice-to-beat incentive, will not be determined until the end of the elimination phase. 

The FEU Lady Tamaraws, who are aiming to return to the Final Four, are in fourth place with a 6-4 record, with a significant lead over the ADMU Blue Eagles, who have a 3-8 record. 

While the two teams are still fighting for their lives, the three teams have already punched their ticket to the dreamland. However, placings and bonuses are still up for grabs. 

The Golden Tigresses’ dominant era 

The UST Golden Tigresses are currently the strongest team in the UAAP. Last season, the squad finished as a semifinalist, facing the twice-to-beat DLSU Lady Spikers and losing to them. 

With new vigor entering the season, the Golden Tigresses embarked on an incredible run to the top. Regina Jurado, Detdet Pepito, Angge Poyos, and Jonna Perdido led UST’s high school grassroots team. 

Photo Courtesy: UAAP Media Group

The Golden Tigresses played their previous game against the UP Fighting Maroons without their best player, Poyos, who was believed to be dehydrated. Nonetheless, UST emerged victorious, 3-1. 

“Nagstep up lang po kami and tinrabaho ko lang po yung responsibilidad ko. ‘Yung panalo ay para po kay Angge (Poyos) and kay Em (Banagua), ‘yun ‘yung naging motivation naming lahat,” said Perdido, the game’s top scorer. 

The Kungfu Reyes-led team has grown over the season. This will be their primary motivation to achieve their goal of bringing home the title for their beloved España community. 

Defend the throne 

The DLSU Lady Spikers are still undefeated in the second round of elimination after playing without top talent and reigning Women’s volleyball MVP Angel Canino for the second straight game. 

Coming off a championship season last year, the Lady Spikers were strong favorites before the season began. Still, the club continues to demonstrate why they were the previous season’s champions. 

Photo Courtesy: UAAP Media Group

In their previous encounter, the Taft-based squad defeated the UE Lady Warriors 25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 22-25, and 15-12, demonstrating how much they miss their main gunner’s services. 

Despite Canino’s absence, the coaching staff encourages the team to accept the potential of playing longer without their star player and to provide greater leadership to the team as they seek to retain their title. 

“Bad win itong nangyari sa amin. Although panalo, pero hindi maganda para sa amin. Siguro tine-test talaga kami kung hanggang saan ‘yung character nitong team na ‘to, kung hanggang saan ‘yung makakaya,” said Lady Spikers assistant coach Noel Orcullo. 

Another shot at the finals

With all of the emphasis focused on the rising UST and defending champion DLSU, some may have forgotten how capable last year’s runners-up, NU Lady Bulldogs, are of coming out on top and maybe returning to the finals. 

Currently, the Lady Bulldogs are still capable of overturning the current top two teams for the twice-to-beat advantage, as the Legarda-based squad secured a significant victory yesterday. 

Photo Courtesy: UAAP Media Group

The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Ateneo Blue Eagles by scores of 25-22, 25-16, and 25-15 at the Mall of Asia Arena. While the latter squad is still vying for the final position, NU made sure to improve their chances as well.

“I think ‘yung natutunan namin from first round loss sa La Salle ay ‘yung grit namin, doon talaga makikita kung gaano talaga namin kagusto manalo and kailangan talaga mailabas ‘yung puso namin sa game,” Erin Pangilinan, the captain of the team, remarked.

Despite appearing to be underdogs in the upcoming Final Four, the NU Lady Bulldogs continue to showcase their tenacity and spirit in every game they play. Keeping their head down and focused on their main goal. 

The UAAP women’s volleyball season will resume on Saturday, April 13, when the Adamson Lady Falcons meet the UP Fighting Maroons, followed by a heavyweight showdown between Final Four contenders FEU and top-seeded UST.



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