UAAP: UST, UP face off in crucial clash

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 10 2019 05:54 AM

UAAP: UST, UP face off in crucial clash 1
Playoff positioning is at stake in UP's crucial match against UST. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- University of the Philippines (UP) and University of Santo Tomas (UST) figure in a crucial showdown that will have major implications on the Final 4 picture of UAAP Season 81 on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The Golden Tigresses are coming off a morale-boosting 25-20, 25-20, 25-16 triumph over University of the East on Saturday, boosting their record to 7-4 for a share of third place.

UP, on the other hand, suffered a brutal four-set defeat to Far Eastern University (FEU), and dropped to fifth place with their 6-5 win-loss record.

A win for UST will boost their semis bid, and keep them in the hunt for the No. 2 seed as well. The Lady Maroons, for their part, desperately need the victory just to stay in control of their fate -- another loss would be disastrous for the pre-season favorites.

"It's becoming tighter," UST head coach Kungfu Reyes said of the battle for playoff positioning. "Wala pang nalalaglag. Pwede pang lumaban ang lahat, so we're on the right track."

It remains to be seen if UP ace Isa Molde will see action against UST, after playing limited minutes against FEU last Saturday. Regardless, UP head coach Godfrey Okumu said the Lady Maroons must simply play better against the Tigresses, after struggling badly against the Lady Tamaraws. 

"Against UST, we really have to defend with more decisiveness, attack smarter, and pass more efficiently. Mentally, we have to stay focused. I believe in my team's resiliency, we will get back," he said.

UST won the first round meeting between the two squads, 22-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-20.

Game time is at 4 p.m.

In the first game at 2 p.m., the FEU Lady Tamaraws will try to keep their momentum going when they take on the also-ran National University Lady Bulldogs.

Though already eliminated from the Final 4 race, the Lady Bulldogs remain dangerous, as they showed when they took a set off league-leading Ateneo de Manila University last Sunday.

"Lahat ng kalaban, unpredictable," noted FEU head coach George Pascua. "It's character na lang ang hinihingi ko… Itataas pa namin 'yung percentage ng mga ginagawa namin na tama."

FEU is currently tied with UST at joint third, with a 7-4 win-loss record.

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