2 p.m. – SSC vs Perpetual (duel for third)
4 p.m. – UST vs Ateneo
Foiled the last time out, University of Santo Tomas got the job done this time, finishing off San Sebastian College with a 25-12, 25-13, 25-23 victory yesterday in their sudden death for the second finals berth in the ninth Shakey’s V-League Presented by SMART at The Arena in San Juan.
Bracing for another five-set thriller that has marked their last two games, including a come-from-behind 22-25, 29-27, 14-25, 25-23; 15-12 victory by the Lady Stags Tuesday that set up the rubber match, the Tigresses imposed their will early and swept the first two sets in emphatic fashions then steeled themselves up in the third set to complete the sweep in one hour and 12 minutes.
The victory lined up UST against defending champion Ateneo in what promises to be a classic title showdown between two of the leading teams in the league sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.
The Lady Eagles swept the Perpetual Help Altas in their own side of the Final Four best-of-three series to remain on track of their title-retention bid in the league backed by Mikasa and Accel.
Thai Utaiwan Kaensing poured in 17 hits while Judy Caballejo added 14 markers for the Tigresses, who also held power-hitter Jeng Bualee to 18 hits after the explosive SSC import posted a record 40-point burst last Tuesday.
Maika Ortiz tossed in nine points while former MVP Mary Jean Balse, Maruja Banaticla and Rhea Dimaculangan combined for 14 points for the Tigresses, who will be gunning for their seventh championship and first after coming off a two-year hiatus.
The Tigresses also asserted themselves in the non-scoring skills with Dimaculangan coming through with 39 excellent sets against 27 by SSC’s Rubie de Leon. UST also had 47 excellent digs against SSC’s 37.
After a 40-point explosion, that erased the previous best of 38 made, by former Ateneo Thai reinforcement Sontaya Keawbundit in the 2010 first conference, Bualee settled for 17 kills and one block, some of her attacks either foiled by the gritty UST net defense or simply failing to hit their targets.
The locals also failed to step up and provided the needed push, especially in the first two sets, with Analyn Benito, who had 20 hits last Tuesday, held to just five points. De Leon had three while Jolina Labiano and Dafna Robina added two hits apiece.