Fancied squads De La Salle University, College of Saint Benilde, University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University seek to live up to expectations against separate rivals to top their groups and clinch quarterfinal tickets in Day 3 of the 2023 Shakey’s Super League National Invitationals on Tuesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Action kicks off a 9 a.m. with reigning University Athletic Association of the Philippines champion La Salle (1-0) clashing against Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. runner-up University of Southern Philippines Foundation (0-1) in Pool A followed by the 12 p.m. duel between Adamson (1-0) and Lyceum of the Philippines (0-1) in Pool C.
At 2 p.m., UST collides (1-0) with La Salle-Dasmariñas (0-1) in Pool B while two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association champion Saint Benilde tackles Enderun Colleges at 4 p.m. in Pool D to wrap up the short single-round robin eliminations among 12 teams from the National Capital Region, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Only the top two teams from each pool will advance to the knockout playoffs.
“All teams here have prepared so we need to respect our foes,” Lady Spikers assistant coach Noel Orcullo said, bracing for an all-out war in the race for the knockout round.
So far, only Notre Dame of Dadiangas University (0-2) is out of contention in Pool D, making the last playdate a waiting game for CESAFI champion University of San Jose Recoletos (1-1) in Pool B and Jose Maria College Foundation (1-1) in Pool C crucial in their respective title bids.
While all eyes are on the big guns from the UAAP and the NCAA, unheralded squads like the USJR from Cebu and the JMCF from Davao have proven their worth.
USJR took down Luzon bet La Salle-Dasmariñas, 25-20, 25-18, 25-18, while JMCF stunned NCAA runner-up Lyceum via reverse sweep, 24-26, 25-19, 25-22, 26-24, to stay in playoff contention.