Undefeated National University is all business when it marches back to court with its eyes fixed on the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship title against a familiar foe in De La Salle University today at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Riding the crest of a seven-game winning streak, the Lady Bulldogs gun to make a repeat over the same squad they dominated in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 84 Finals five months ago in their scheduled 4:30 p.m. winner-take-all encounter.
Meanwhile, Adamson University and University of Santo Tomas meet in the 2 p.m. battle for bronze.
Facing off in the 9 a.m. curtain-raiser for seventh place are University of Perpetual Help System Dalta and Far Eastern University while University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University dispute the fifth place in the other classification round encounter slated at 11:30 a.m.
Still, all eyes will be on the dream match between two of the country’s top college women’s volleyball squads.
NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan swears that despite their unbeaten run, which in fact is currently stretched to 23 straight dating back from its 16-0 romp in the UAAP, the team remains hungry for glory.
“We’re all business. We’ll come into the game well-prepared and with the mentality of going all out. But of course, we can’t take La Salle lightly because we know how good their system is,” he said.
The Lady Bulldogs swept the Lady Spikers in all their previous four head-to-head matchups this year.
Dimaculangan will pin his hopes on reigning UAAP Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Bella Belen, Ces Robles, Alyssa Solomon, Sheena Toring, setter Camilla Lamina, top libero Jen Nierva and promising rookie Vangie Alinsug to complete a sweep of the tournament supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Commission on Higher Education, Team Rebel Sports, Mikasa, F2 Logistics, United Auctioneers, Cherrylume, Eurotel, UPLive, Dr. J Rubbing Alcohol, Toby’s Sports and Nature’s Spring.
The Lady Bulldogs defeated UST, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 25-17, in the knockout semifinal last 11 November.
La Salle, on the other hand, is fueled by its desire for redemption.
The Lady Spikers survived a tough challenge against Adamson last week, needing five sets to beat the Lady Falcons, 25-16, 18-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-8, and forge a rematch against the Lady Bulldogs.
Prized recruits Angel Canino and Amie Provido as well as veterans Thea Gagate, Alleiah Malaluan, Fifi Sharma, Leila Cruz, Baby Jyne Soreno, playmaker Mars Alba, Jolina de la Cruz and libero Justine Jazareno will be at the forefront of La Salle’s charge to score its much-desired payback.
“I always remind my team to play with pride and heart. Every team wants to beat NU, now is our chance,” Lady Spikers coach Noel Orcullo said.