4 p.m. – UST vs SSC
San Sebastian College has the momentum but University of Santo Tomas has the manpower as the Lady Stags and the Tigresses slug it out for the second finals berth today in the ninth Shakey’s V-League Presented by SMART at The Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Stags leaned on a record-setting performance by Thai ace Jeng Bualee, who unleashed a 40-hit output in powering the team to a come-from-behind 22-25, 29-27, 14-25, 25-23; 15-12 victory Tuesday to force a sudden death for the second championship berth.
Defending champion Ateneo eased through the finals with a 25-23, 25-11, 25-23 win over Perpetual Help to complete a sweep of their best-of-three Final Four series in the season-opening conference sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.
UST held off San Sebastian, also in five sets, in the opener of their own series but blew a 2-1 set lead in Game Two, setting the stage for the rubber match set at 4 p.m.
The match can be viewed live via streaming on www.v-league.ph and will be aired on a delayed basis at 7 tonight on AKTV-13, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
“We were really focused on forcing a Game 3,” said SSC coach Clint Malazo in Filipino. “We were short in offense but since we have the edge in height, I told them that we should control (the spikes) at center.”
The power-hitting Bualee took charge in the last two sets, uncorking a series of cross-court spikes that pierced through UST’s defense and keyed SSC’s stirring fightback, especially in the decider where the Lady Stags overhauled a 6-11 deficit.
Her 40-point effort, including 38 kills, bettered the previous league-best of 38 posted by former Ateneo Thai reinforcement Sontaya Keawbundit in the 2010 first conference of the league backed by Mikasa and Accel.
But in sudden death, odds are just about event between UST and SSC with the former expecting to draw the best from its deep bench that includes Judy Caballejo, Maika Ortiz, Maruja Banaticla, Tricia Lastimosa, Mary Jean Balse and setter Rhea Dimaculangan.
Bualee, on the other hand, hopes to inspire the rest of the Lady Stags with her heads-up game, including Analyn Benito, Dafna Robinos, Ara Mallare, Karen Berbano and playmaker Rubie de Leon, who came up with 41 excellent sets in Game Two.