The UAAP Volleyball Tournament takes it up a notch this Saturday when the Finals in both the Women’s and Men’s division go live on various ABS-CBN platforms on television, cable, and digital featuring a pair of exciting games bannered by the most-popular volleybelles in the land.
Defending Men’s Volleyball champion National University Bulldogs stake their title against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws at 12 noon.
Meanwhile the top-seeded Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles take on the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses at 4 p.m. on ABS-CBN S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, sports.abs-cbn.com, and iWant Sports. Highlights of the games will be available on ABS-CBN Sports’ YouTube channel.
The Ateneo-UST Finals in the Women’s division was not expected early in the tournament but the ladies from both schools bucked the proverbial preseason rankings to finish first and second, respectively. However, the two storied programs took different paths on their way back to the Finals.
UST took the harder route to secure a twice-to-beat advantage prior to the Final Four, staring down the defending champs De La Salle University Lady Spikers, who finished with identical 10-4 win-loss records. They won the playoff securing the number 2 seed and outlasted the Lady Spikers behind sensational Eya Laure and captain Sisi Rondina in their Final Four match-up. The Golden Tigresses scored a five-set win over the erstwhile queens of UAAP volleyball, 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 15-10, to punch a ticket to their first Finals appearance in eight years.
On the other side of the fence, the Lady Eagles exceeded everyone’s expectations in the regular season, after finishing on top with a 12-2 record. However, they had to go through the proverbial eye of the needle against a tough FEU Lady Tamaraws squad who forced a do or die game before succumbing to them in four sets, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 25-14. Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag, and Ponggay Gaston scored in double digits to book Ateneo a trip to the Finals. The team last won the UAAP diadem in Season 77 and missed the Finals last year.
Meanwhile, the NU Bulldogs hope to annex another title against the FEU Tamaraws in the Men’s side. Expected to lead the charge for the Bulldogs are graduating hitter Bryan Bagunas, middle blocker Kim Malabunga, and rookies Nico Almendras and Francis Saura, who came up big in subduing their Final Four foe, the Adamson University Falcons. FEU will be leaning on the likes of veterans JP Bugaoan, Jude Garcia, and Richard Solis, who disposed of the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the Final Four.
UAAP will also honor the outstanding individual performers this season with the UAAP volleyball awarding ceremony on May 15, with the Men’s taking place at 11:30 am and the Women’s at 3:30 pm.
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