NU, Ateneo shoot for crucial victories

Games today:
(Rizal Memorial Coliseum)
10 a.m. — San Sebastian vs EAC
12:30 p.m. — Mapua vs Perpetual
3 p.m. — Ateneo vs JRU
5:30 p.m. — Arellano vs NU

National University and Ateneo de Manila University are looking to get themselves warmed up for their much-anticipated showdown this weekend.

The two powerhouse teams will take on separate foes in Pool C with their eyes fixed on clinching seats into the next round of the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-season Championship at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

The reigning University Athletic Association of the Philippines champion Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to face Arellano University at 5:30 p.m. in the featured match of the quadruple-header playdate after the Blue Eagles’ 3 p.m. encounter against Jose Rizal University.

NU and Ateneo are tied on top of Pool C with identical 1-0 win-loss slates. Both are just a win away from securing berths into the next round.

Pool D teams De La Salle University (3-0) and Far Eastern University (2-1) are through to the next round.

The top two teams after the group stage will be bracketed into two pools where they will play another round of round-robin matches to determine their positions in the knockout quarterfinals.

The Lady Bulldogs are coming off a 25-14, 25-6, 25-12, demolition of the Lady Bombers last week with rookies Vangie Alinsug, Renee Mabilanga and Minierva Maaya leading the way.

NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan underscored the importance of hurdling the Lady Chiefs not only for their bid to advance into the next phase of the tournament but also to build confidence for their marquee matchup against the Blue Eagles.

“It’s an all-important game for us as it could set the tone for our next game against Ateneo. It will be a preparation for us before Sunday’s game,” he said.

Arellano holds a 1-1 card.

Although the Blue Eagles are favored to come up on top against JRU which is listless in two games, head coach Oliver Almadro doesn’t want his wards to be too complacent.

“We can’t take any team lightly. Just like in our last game against Arellano, we can’t let our guards down,” Almadro said.

“We have two big games this weekend so we need to keep our minds focused on our goals, one step at a time.”

Ateneo behind inspired games from Makana Kowalski and veteran Vanie Gandler stormed past Arellano, 25-14, 30-28, 25-17, last 1 October.

Meanwhile, University of Perpetual Help eyes the first ticket to the next round in Pool A in its 12:30 p.m. encounter against Mapua University.

The Lady Altas carry a 2-1 record behind unbeaten University of the Philippines (2-0).

Also-ran San Sebastian College hopes to end its campaign on a winning note after dropping its first three games in the 10 a.m. clash against Emilio Aguinaldo College (0-1) in Pool B.

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