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Lady Bulldogs, Golden Tigresses resume hunt for semis bonus

MANILA, Philippines – National University and University of Santo Tomas shore up their drive for a Top-Two finish and the twice-to-beat incentives against separate counterparts as the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament returns from a 10-day break Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

The Lady Bulldogs, who dealt the Golden Tigresses their first defeat before the UAAP break in observance of the Holy Week, ride on the momentum versus the University of the East at 2 p.m. followed by the UST-Adamson duel at 4 p.m.  

NU is at 7-2, a stone throw’s away from UST (8-1) and reigning champion La Salle (7-1) in a wild finish for the coveted Top 2 spots laced by win-once bonuses in the Final Four nearing the homestretch of the two-round prelims. 

UE and Adamson, for their part, sport similar 2-6 slates entering a key tiff to stay in Final Four contention as Far Eastern U (4-4) and Ateneo (3-6) pace the race for the last spot. 

“‘Yung mindset ng team, mas intact ngayon. Mas gusto naming manalo ngayon,” said former MVP Bella Belen as NU is not keen on pressing the break even against the lowly UE squad led by super rookie Casiey Monique Dongallo. 

The same goes for the erstwhile pristine Golden Tigresses, who are out to hold the fort at No. 1 despite absorbing their first loss that paved the way for traditional Final Four format instead of a potential stepladder one. 

“Malaking bagay para sa amin na nakapag-pahinga in a natural way at least. Meron kaming break at ito na, dire-diretso na ulit. In-embrace namin iyong mga natutunan namin against NU,” vowed UST coach Kungfu Reyes. 

“Ang maganda naman, as early as this, naramdaman namin somehow ‘yung breaking point. We lost a game but definitely, dapat hindi mawala yung character na meron kami.”

In the men’s play, second-running and three-time champion NU (7-2) takes on UE (1-7) at 10 a.m. while UST (5-4) and Adamson (4-4) battle in the big game between Final Four contenders at 12 p.m.