Ateneo De Manila University and University of Sto. Tomas (UST) will dispute the Season 81 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball crown in the winner-take-all Game 3 today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Lady Eagles are expected to go all-out to end a four-year title drought against the Golden Tigresses that are equally bent on halting a nine-year title spell in their 3:30 p.m. clash.
Ateneo last won the title in Season 77 when it achieved a tournament sweep while UST snared its last trophy in Season 72 with a finals sweep against De La Salle University.
Behind the troika of Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon and Kat Tolentino, Ateneo tied the championship series with a 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15 victory in Game 2 at the same venue on Wednesday.
Graduating blocker Madayag finished with 17 points, graduating captain De Leon notched 13 markers while season Best Opposite Hitter Tolentino tallied 11 in the previous game.
“Keep staying positive because we got one game. We just have to go from there, remain happy and enjoying the game,” De Leon said.
Ateneo’s triple tower will once again lead the charge as head coach Oliver Almadro expects sophomore libero Dani Ravena to step up on defense.
Ravena anchored the Lady Eagles’ floor defense with 22 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions in Game 2.
On the other side, UST mentor Kungfu Reyes is pinning his hope on season MVP Sisi Rondina while hoping that Rookie of the Year Eya Laure will fully recover from her sprained left ankle.
Laure sustained the injury during the third set of Game 2, resulting in a weakened Tigresses’ attack. She returned late in the same set but was visibly affected by the injury.
Reyes will also be counting on Ysa Jimenez, Caitlyn Viray and Kecelyn Galdones to sustain their offensive.
UST prevailed in the series opener with a 25-17, 25-16, 25-20 sweep.
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