Adamson, Ateneo clash in do-or-die playoff for No. 4

Reigning champion Ateneo and Adamson collide in a playoff game for the No. 4 spot in the UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball tournament Saturday, June 11, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Faith Nisperos of Ateneo attacks the net past Adamson's Louie Romero (UAAP Media Bureau)

After ending the elimination round with identical 8-6 records, the Blue Eagles and the Lady Falcons figure in a do-or-die match to be the rightful opponent of third-seeded University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses heading into the stepladder Final Four.

Match is set at 5 p.m. as both squads settle the tie after an equal footing in two games of the eliminations.

Adamson drew first blood in the first round with a 23-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-12 beating before Ateneo bounced back and survived in a five-set thriller, 24-26, 25-21, 25-19, 23-25, 19-17, in the second round.

Lady Falcons head coach Lerma Giron, despite only having a day to prepare for the playoff, opted to take a much-needed breather and rest her wards for the crucial showdown.

"Sa ngayon, mas importante 'yong rest. Sobrang hindi biro 'yong mga pinagdaanan noong mga nakaraang araw so ngayon nakikita ko na need talaga namin, pati pala ako, ng rest," said Giron, who will continue to rely on main gunner Trisha Genesis, Lucille Almonte, Aliah Marce, and setter Louie Romero, among others. "So, rest muna, then from there, tiyaka kami magpa-plano ulit."

Genesis was phenomenal in Adamson's 25-23, 17-25, 25-16, 26-24 win against De La Salle as she dropped to 20 points on top of 19 spikes to help the Lady Falcons keep their Final Four hopes alive.

Ateneo head tactician Oliver Almadro, for his part, admitted that his wards were actually spectating the Adamson-De La Salle showdown but remained focused on the huge hurdle ahead against University of the Philippines.

The Eagles, behind the efforts of Faith Nisperos, AC Miner, and Vannie Gandler, did not disappoint as they eked out a 19-25, 25-11, 25-18, 25-19 victory against the Lady Maroons to secure the playoff with the Lady Falcons.

"What's important is we did our job, 'yon ang ginawa namin and one game at a time," added the three-time UAAP champion coach. "Now, natapos kami sa UP, we will be preparing for Adamson. Sayang lang at natalo ang La Salle."

A playoff could have been averted if the Lady Spikers won against the Lady Falcons.

Meanwhile, the Tigresses, who finished with a 9-5 record, await the playoff winner as the Final Four begins Tuesday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the same venue.

Top-ranked National University, which remained unbeaten in 14 matches to clinch an outright Finals berth, and No. 2 squad De La Salle (10-4) are also in the waiting game and can take as much rest as they needed as the stepladder proceeds.