7 games down, 7 games to go.
After a short break, the UAAP Women’s Volleyball kicked off the 2nd half of the elimination round on Wednesday which caught some teams by surprise. The collegiate board earlier announced that the tournament would resume on March 11 but quickly changed the schedule to March 8.
Despite the late change though, the NU Lady Bulldogs opened the second round by finishing off the struggling ADU Lady Falcons, 25-21, 25-20, 25-19. Adamson is still looking for their first win of their Season 79 campaign after a 3–11 finish last year. It doesn’t get easier for new coach Airess Padda as the Falcons still have to face Ateneo and La Salle who are both looking to hold the top-2 spots, and the quartet of NU-UST-UP-FEU needing every win to cement a place in the Final Four.
Maybe a date with the UE Lady Warriors (1–6) on April 5 could save Adamson from a 0–14 season?
NU’s 3-set sweep of the Lady Falcons didn’t stop coach Roger Gorayeb from criticizing his own team after committing 27 errors on what should have been an easier win for the Lady Bulldogs. “I expect them to be stronger than that, no need for me to tell them,” said the former national coach.
The Lady Bulldogs are currently 3rd in standings and will look for a strong finish that could secure them a twice-to-beat advantage come playoff time behind leading-scorer Jaja Santiago. Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez has moved on to play with Thailand club, 3BB Nakornnont, but not before passing the torch to Santiago, who is now arguably the tournament’s best player and the leading candidate for the Most Valuable Player award.
The DLSU Lady Spikers flexed their muscles and made quick work of the FEU Lady Tamaraws in the second game of the day. DLSU won the first round 25-5, the most lopsided set win in 7 years. The Lady Tamaraws were able to put up a better fight in the 2nd and 3rd sets (23–25, 23–25) but failed to get their 5th win that would have resulted to a 3-way tie for 2nd with DLSU and NU.
La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus was delighted to see the defending champions bounce back in a big way after a disappointing loss to Ateneo last Saturday, improving their record to 6–2.“It’s better to experience what out team could do after a loss, seeing if we can bounce back or not,” said de Jesus, who will look to continue the Lady Spikers’ title defense against National University on Sunday.
The rest of the teams will resume their campaign on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Center. The UST Tigresses will look to capitalize facing a struggling UE Lady Warriors squad and stay in the Final Four race, while the Lady Warriors are hoping that a quick break could restart their campaign. The Katipunan Derby also continues as the top-seed ADMU Lady Eagles will face-off their neighboring UP Lady Maroons in a match that could prove to be pivotal once the playoffs start in April.
Summer is upon us but things are already heating up in the UAAP Volleyball competition!
– David Gamboa