by Kristel Satumbaga
Game Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
3:30 p.m. – Ateneo vs UST (women’s)
Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas try to put a fitting finale to a blockbuster title showdown when they go for all the marbles in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Match is at 3:30 p.m. with both teams seeking to reclaim lost glory at all costs in a clash between two teams on a mission.
The Lady Eagles hope to return to the top after three years of misfortunes that saw fierce rivals De La Salle Lady Spikers dominate the tournament.
The Tigresses, on the other hand, are out to quench their thirst for title after 9 years of roller-coaster show.
Displaying the tigerish form that helped past UST teams reign supreme, the Tigresses dethroned the Lady Spikers in the semis.
That win and their straight-set demolition of the Lady Eagles in the opening of their best-of-three title series created a quite a stir for the España-based squad.
But the expected coronation did not happen last Wednesday as the Lady Eagles persevered to extend the series to full route with a 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15.
Momentum is definitely on Ateneo’s side but the Tigresses, especially Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure, the MVP and Rookie of the Year winners, respectively, bowed to make amends.
Given another chance, the Lady Eagles hope wage an all-out war.
“Lalaban talaga kami. We’re not gonna go down without a fight,” said Maddie Madayag, who is playing her last match with Ateneo along with graduating Bea de Leon.
De Leon couldn’t help but be sentimental over the duel, saying they need to stay focused and continue to trust each other.
“For us (graduating players), we’re going to Game 3 with grateful hearts, with love for each other and love for the game,” De Leon said.
Madayag and De Leon will be at the forefront of Ateneo’s lineup, taking charge both of their strong attacks and solid blocking along with Kat Tolentino, Jules Samonte and libero Dani Ravena.
UST, however, shares the same battlecry.
“Di kami susuko. Babawi at babawi kami,” said Rondina, whose team failed to capitalize on their 25-17, 25-16, 25-20 Game 1 win last week.