2 p.m. – Ateneo vs Perpetual
4 p.m. – UST vs SSC
Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas try to sweep their Final Four rivals today and forge a dream title showdown but Perpetual Help and San Sebastian College go all-out to send their respective series into a pair of sudden deaths in the ninth Shakey’s V-League Presented by SMART at The Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Eagles and the Tigresses pulled off victories in varying fashions last Sunday to move closer to the finals. The two fancied teams are tipped to further raise the level of their games and seal their keenly awaited showdown for the crown.
Ateneo outlasted Perpetual Help in a gripping first set duel then held on to complete a 31-29, 25-20, 25-19 victory that kept the defending champions’ unbeaten run going.
But the Lady Eagles brace for a big Perpetual comeback in their 2 p.m. encounter although they remain upbeat of their chances with Alyssa Valdez and Thai Phee Nok Kesinee playing true to form and Fille Cainglet and Dzi Gervacio expected to rebound from their six-hit performance the last time out.
Gretchen Ho is a doubtful starter after the Ateneo skipper sustained a swollen patella tendon last Sunday but the Lady Eagles’ roster is so deep one or two would step up at any given time, including Jorella de Jesus, who came off the bench in the second set to fire nine hits.
But Perpetual coach Mike Rafael is expected to tinker with his game plan in a bid to spring a surprise against Ateneo although mainstays Sandra delos Santos, Norie Diaz, Honey Tubino and April Sartin together with Thai reinforcement Pornpimol Kunbang will have to double their effort, especially in net defense and reception to neutralize the Lady Eagles’ vaunted power game.
UST, on the other hand, hopes to settle down with its game after nearly blowing a 2-0 set lead with a shaky stint in the next two frames, needing to toughen up in the decider to scuttle the Lady Stags’ come-from-behind bid.
Coach Odjie Mamon said their main concern is how to slow down Jeng Bualee after the explosive Thai import unloaded 34 hits that brought back the Lady Stags into the game.
“I might tap a male player to neutralize Bualee’s crosscourt spikes,” said Mamon in jest.
Still, the Tigresses, Led by Judy Caballejo, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maruja Banaticla and Thai backup Kaensing Utaiwan, shoot for a sweep of the Lady Stags in their 4 p.m. match with the former six-time champions gearing up for a showdown with the Lady Eagles in the finals of the season-opening conference of the league backed by MIkasa and Accel.
Meanwhile, the two matches can be viewed live on streaming on www.v-league.ph and on a delayed basis starting at 7 tonight on AKTV 13 starting at 7 tonight, according to the organizing Sports Vision.