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Women’s Volleyball Day 4: UST, La Salle, Ateneo setup do-or-die Saturday

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Just when you thought the contenders were set, the ladies of the UAAP Beach Volleyball Tournament shook up the standings. AdU and FEU sit atop the standings, Ateneo free fell to a precarious position, and one of last season’s finalists, DLSU or UST, may not make the Final Four.

UST’s Cherry Rondina and Rica Rivera nailed the biggest win of the day, taking down the previously red-hot Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez and Bea Tan in straight sets, 21-18, 21-18. The Tomasinas executed their game plan perfectly, targeting Bea Tan and trying their best not to let Alyssa Valdez fire off powerful attacks. Although Ateneo’s previous foes had the same game plan, UST’s defense persisted and created enough opportunities for the Tigresses to pull away. Rica Rivera, who was off her game throughout the first weekend, regained form, punishing the Lady Eagles for targeting her. The Tigresses desperately needed to win the match to keep pace with the rest of the Final Four aspirants. The loss, dragged Ateneo to a dangerous situation, needing to win tomorrow’s clash with UE to qualify for a Final Four spot.

Ateneo’s loss also cleared the way for FEU and Adamson to claim outright berths to the Final Four. Both the Lady Tams and the Lady Falcons followed through and thrashed their opponents for the day.

FEU’s Bernadette Pons and Kyla Atienza first escaped UP’s feisty pair of Arielle Estranero and Vina Alinas 21-10, 19-21, 15-8 in the morning then drubbed UE’s Glaiza Bendong and Judith Abil 21-8, 21-12 in the day’s final match. Adamson’s Mylene Paat and Gemma Galanza first handled NU’s Jaja Santiago and Jasmine Nabor the morning then quelled UP’s Estranero and Alinas in the afternoon 21-15, 21-18. Both teams ended the day with identical 5-1 slates. They will face-off tomorrow in their final eliminations match for the number one seed and a twice-to-beat advantage.

DLSU’s Kim Fajardo and Cyd Demecillo also notched an important win, sweeping NU’s Santiago and Nabor 26-24, 21-18 in the morning. Though the 6’6″ Santiago towered over the La Sallians, the Lady Spikers’ skills advantage stood out, bucking an early game slide and finishing off their foes from Sampaloc.

Ateneo, UST and DLSU are all tied at third place with 4-2 records. Tomorrow, UST and DLSU collide for a rematch of last season’s Finals series.

Scenarios for the second, third, and fourth seed:

If Ateneo wins against UE, Ateneo, the winner of the DLSU-UST tilt, and the loser of the AdU-FEU match will all be tied with 5-2 records. The team with the lowest quotient of the three remaining teams will be seeded fourth while the two teams with the highest quotients will face-off in a battle for the second seed. The winner of AdU-FEU will place first. The loser of DLSU-UST will be eliminated.

If Ateneo loses against UE, Ateneo will be tied with the loser of DLSU-UST. Both teams will battle it out for fourth. The loser of AdU-FEU will then face the winner of DLSU-UST for the second seed.

Here are the standings after Day 4:

AdU 5-1
FEU 5-1
ADMU 4-2
DLSU 4-2
UST 4-2
NU 1-5
UP 1-5
UE 0-6

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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