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NU-Nazareth, California collide

‘This is it. We expect to face strong opposition.’

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SGVIL National University-Nazareth School sets its sights on securing a seat in the final of the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball Invitational League.

Lone Manila-based bet National University-Nazareth School makes a homestand against a familiar rival in California Academy in an explosive 2023 Shakey’s Girls Volleyball Invitational League knockout Final Four encounter today at the San Andres Gym in Malate.

The two unbeaten teams battle at 9 a.m. for the right to face in the championship the winner between Bacolod Tay Tung High School and Naga College Foundation, which will clash in the other semis pairing at 12 noon.

Expect fireworks when the reigning University Athletic Association of the Philippines high school champions Lady Bullpups and the Antipolo-based California Academy rekindle their rivalry.

The two squads know each other very well after numerous showdowns in other tilts.

“This is it. We expect to face strong opposition,” NUNS coach Vilet Ponce-de Leon said. “Each time we face a team that we have played before, we expect them to bring something new on their plate. But we’ll be ready.”

The Lady Bullpups disposed of Far Eastern University-Diliman, 25-15, 25-18, in the quarterfinal last week while California Academy booted out Adamson University, 25-17, 25-16, to advance into the semis.

“We played NU multiple times already. This time around, I think we’re a little bit healthier. We respect the NU program so it’s gonna be a fun match. It should be a very good one,” California Academy mentor Obet Vital said.

Meanwhile, an exciting match is also to be expected in the Bacolod Tay Tung High School and Naga College Foundation duel.

“We’ll give everything we got because we’re facing a tough and very skilled team,” Bacolod coach Ian Macariola said.

Both squads also carry unblemished cards and are coming off big wins in the quarterfinal.

The Ilongga squad pulled off an upset over fancied University of Santo Tomas, 25-22, 25-23, while the Bicolanas made a narrow escape over La Salle Lipa, 14-25, 25-17, 25-17.

“Maybe a lot of people were surprised that three provincial teams advanced to the Final Four. But it just proves that teams outside Metro Manila are very competitive too, said Naga tactician Parley Tupaz said.

“Now we’re facing a very good team in Bacolod. We’ll give them a good fight.”

In the classification match, FEU-Diliman tangles with Adamson at 2 p.m. while UST battles La Salle Lipa at 4 p.m.

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