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Games today:
(Mall of Asia Arena)
10 a.m. — FEU vs Adamson (men’s)
12 p.m. — FEU vs Adamson (women’s)
2 pm — NU vs UST (women’s)
4 p.m. — NU vs UST (men’s)

Repeat-seeking National University puts its unblemished slate on the line against feisty University of Santo Tomas in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament today at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Bulldogs brace for another tough test at 2 p.m. following the Far Eastern University and Adamson University tussle at 12 p.m. with both teams on a mission to rebound from their previous setbacks.

The reigning champions had a scare last Wednesday when they needed five sets to subdue the stubborn Lady Falcons, 25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 22-25, 15-10, to claim their second win in as many outings.

NU, which is on a 20-game winning streak dating back from the pandemic-canceled Season 82 in 2020, shares the top spot with last year’s runner-up idle De La Salle University as the only remaining unbeaten teams in the tourney.

Lady Bulldogs head coach Karl Dimaculangan expects another dogfight, especially after Lady Falcons exposed his wards’ vulnerabilities.

“It just shows that we still have a lot to improve on, more things to learn and experience. Hopefully, we have gained a lot from our last game,” Dimaculangan, a former league Most Valuable Player and a multiple champion during his days with UST, said.

“Now we’re facing another challenge in UST. For sure they will push us over our limits and it won’t be an easy battle as it has been for us this season.”

The match will also be a showdown between the top two best scorers of the season NU’s Alyssa Solomon and UST’s Eya Laure.

Solomon, who is coming off a personal-best 28 points against Adamson, currently sits on the No. 1 spot in scoring with an average of 20 points per game. Close behind is Laure with a norm of 18 markers per outing.

Backing up Solomon are reigning Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Bella Belen, Erin Pangilinan, Ces Robles, setting statistics leader Lams Lamina and outgoing libero Jen Nierva.

The Tigresses, on the other hand, have bared their teeth after a sorry five-set loss to the Lady Spikers to start their campaign by venting their ire on Far Eastern University, 25-16, 28-26, 25-21, last Wednesday.

Laure points out that UST needs to start hot and sustain its intensity from start to finish to snatch the win against NU.

“We have to keep in mind that we need to close out every set. We can’t afford to relax, especially against a team like NU,” she said.

“We don’t have to play at the pace of our opponent and we should finish strong. We must be hungry to win each set.”

Laure is counting on young guns Jonna Perdido, Renee Penafiel, Regina Jurado and veterans Imee Hernandez and Milena Alessandrini, who had a quiet one-point game against the Lady Tamaraws, to provide support.

In the other battle, FEU and Adamson are on a four-way logjam with 1-1 slates along with UST and Ateneo de Manila University.

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