UAAP: La Salle, UST dispute second seed, semis bonus

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 01 2019 07:39 AM | Updated as of May 01 2019 07:40 AM

UAAP: La Salle, UST dispute second seed, semis bonus 1
UST star Sisi Rondina (16) will try to lead the Tigresses past the De La Salle Lady Spikers. Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – In the first game of what is now virtually a best-of-3 series, University of Santo Tomas (UST) and De La Salle University face off to determine who gets the second seed in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball Final 4.

Game time is at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The playoff match for the No. 2 spot – and the twice-to-beat edge that it carries – became necessary after the Lady Spikers lost in a five-set thriller to Far Eastern University (FEU) on Sunday.

That gave the defending champions a 10-4 win-loss record at the end of the elimination round, putting them in a tie with the Golden Tigresses in the league standings. UST had taken care of its own business on Saturday, beating National University (NU) to wrap up their eliminations schedule.

UST head coach Kungfu Reyes admitted after their win over NU that he was no longer dwelling on possibly getting the twice-to-beat edge.

"Laban na ito, regardless ng kung anong magiging outcome," he said. "Ang importante ngayon, sabi nga namin kahapon, i-secure namin ang 10th win namin. Nakuha naman namin."

"Another story na pagdating ng semis kasi mag-iiba na 'yung trend ng laro diyan, mag-iiba na 'yung bakbakan," Reyes added.

But La Salle gave UST an opening when the defending champions lost to FEU in shocking fashion. Now, instead of needing to win just once to advance to the UAAP finals for the 11th season in a row, the Lady Spikers will need to beat the Golden Tigresses twice – which is far from a guarantee.

After all, UST is one of three teams to beat La Salle in the elimination round: the Golden Tigresses swept them in the first round, 25-20, 25-22, 25-17.

"Mabigat, pero kailangan tanggapin. Sila din naman ang may pagkukulang sa loob kanina," La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus said of their costly defeat. 

De Jesus told his team to move on quickly from the loss, as they have another crucial showdown against UST. Momentum is on the side of the Tigresses, who enter the match with a four-game winning streak. La Salle, for its part, saw its five-game run come to an end.

"Ang sabi ko nga sa kanila eh wag na lang isipin itong pagkatalo ngayon kasi mahirap kung dadalhin mo pa sa Wednesday kung ano 'yung result nitong game," said de Jesus.

"Sabi ko kailangan na lang matuto tayo sa pagkakamali ngayon. Ang nakikita ko kasi sa team ngayon, 'pag nanalo, hindi ma-sustain," he also said.

The winner of Wednesday's match-up will need to win just one more game to advance to the finals.

Meanwhile, top-seeded Ateneo de Manila University face No. 4 FEU in the other Final 4 pairing this weekend.

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