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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Championship seats at stake in Shakey’s Super League

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Games Friday (Rizal Memorial Coliseum)

10:00 a.m. –- FEU vs UP

12:30 p.m. –- NU vs UST

4:00 p.m. –- Perpetual vs Ateneo

6:30 p.m. –- Adamson vs La Salle

Four remaining teams slug it out for the right to advance to the gold medal match of the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-season Championship in a pair of interesting semifinal matches at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Friday.

Duking it out in the first knockout Final Four showdown are unbeaten National University and University of Santo Tomas at 12:30 p.m. while Adamson University battle De La Salle University in the 6:30 p.m. nightcap of the tournament organized by Athletic Events and Sports Management, Inc. (ACES).

Games will air live via Plus Network on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok.

All eyes will be on the reigning UAAP champions and top contenders Lady Bulldogs as they try to continue their hot winning streak for a chance to add the SSL crown to their collection.

NU breezed past Far Eastern University, 25-10, 25-17, 25-15, in the quarterfinal last Sunday for its sixth straight win behind Erin Pangilinan and Alyssa Solomon.

Lady Bulldogs head coach Karl Dimaculangan believes his squad is peaking at the right time but remains wary of the Tigresses, who despite missing the services of veteran Eya Laure booked a semis seat after booting out a stubborn University of the Philippines in five sets.

“I think the team is moving in the right direction. Against UST, we just need to stick to our system, prepare well, and hopefully, not commit the same mistakes we did in our previous games,” said Dimaculangan, who will also rely on seasoned players Bella Belen, Ces  Robles, Sheena Toring, libero Jen Nierva and top setter Camilla Lamina.

UST will again pin its hopes on feisty newcomers Xyza Gula and Regina Jurado as well as other young guns in Angeli Abellana and Athena Abbu to pull off an upset.

Gula and Jurado finished with 20 points each to lead the Tigresses to a marathon 27-25, 26-28, 25-18, 22-25, 17-15, win over the Fighting Maroons.

The Lady Falcons, on the other hand, seek to duplicate their second round sweep of the Lady Spikers to snatch the other seat in the winner-take-all championship round slated on November 19.

“Our previous win against them won’t matter, it’s back to zero. We expect a tough battle but we’re ready,” said Adamson coach Jerry Yee.

The Lady Falcons dominated University of Perpetual Help, 25-14, 25-16, 25-16, for their sixth straight victory and a semis berth.

May Ann Nuique, Ayesha Juegos, Antonette Adolfo, Lorene Toring and playmaker Louie Romero will again lead the charge of Adamson against La Salle, which is raring for payback.

The Lady Spikers booted out archrival Ateneo de Manila University, 25-17, 25-23, 25-10, in the quarterfinal with new recruit Angel Canino firing 19 points to lead La Salle in the absence of veterans Jolina dela Cruz and Baby Jyne Soreno.

De la Cruz and Soreno, who were both under the weather the last time out, are expected to suit up to help Canino along with Thea Gagate, Leila Cruz, Fifi Sharma and Mars Alba.

Meanwhile, quarterfinals losers begin their classification round campaign with FEU taking on UP at 10:00 a.m. while Perpetual faces Ateneo at 4:00 p.m. in the other pairing.

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