Last Push: The Closing Stretch For The Potential UAAP Season 86 Volleyball Final Four

While the Final Four is nearly set, a lot can still happen in the UAAP Season 86 volleyball tournament. A crucial decider can lie in their final elimination matches.

As we head into the closing stretch of Season 86 UAAP Season volleyball, the top four teams of the elimination rounds have been pretty much set. A fourth-seed tussle never materialized, while the top three remain close to each other by just one game. 

However, save for the fourth seed, the final standings are not yet set in stone. Twice-to-beat advantages are still up for grabs, with teams looking to pounce on any opening created by the final game days. 

At the very least, the UAAP Season 86 volleyball Final Four standings can be decided by schedule. With about two weeks left in eliminations, let’s look at each of our playoff-bound teams’ closing matchups. 

UST Golden Tigresses (10-1)
UAAP Season 86 Volleyball: Reg Jurado
We recently saw UST flaunt their depth in Angge Poyos’ absence. (Photo Credit: UAAP Season 86 Media Team)

What’s next: FEU Lady Tamaraws (April 13); UE Lady Warriors (April 21); DLSU Lady Spikers (April 27)

On the surface level, UST has two major hurdles to end their UAAP Season 86 volleyball eliminations —first against fourth-seeded FEU. To recall, FEU nearly swept the error-filled Tigresses in the first round of eliminations, before UST rallied back for a reverse sweep.

More importantly, FEU has started to peak in the second round. There were some scares here and there, but the Lady Tams have shown that they might just return to the Final Four. 

A win against FEU would solidify UST’s grasp on the first seed. Their immediate opposition would now be either La Salle or NU after Saturday. 

While highly unlikely, UE could give the Tigresses a scare. If their near-upset against DLSU is an indicator, the smallest chances still exist for them to disrupt the Final Four contenders, alongside taking home some positives heading into Season 88. 

La Salle, meanwhile, is understandably shaky without Angel Canino on the floor. But with two weeks left, and Angel’s now-smaller cast, she may be able to rejoin them late into eliminations. 

In the worst-case scenario, the Lady Spikers still have four games to improve on their chemistry. Fortunately, they’re coached by one Ramil de Jesus, arguably the gold standard in Philippine volleyball excellence. 

Either way, one thing’s for sure: the Tigresses are a deep team. That was only solidified against UP, wherein Reg Jurado and Jonna Perdido led UST during Angge Poyos’ absence. Also contributing were Xyza Gula, rookie Mae Coronado, and ever-reliable setter Cassie Carballo. 

Who knows, Poyos’ absence might just have provided the remaining Tigresses with much-needed confidence, both for the Final Four and their last elimination push. 

DLSU Lady Spikers (9-1) 
UAAP Season 86 Volleyball: Shevana Laput
Shevana Laput has been one of the Lady Spikers’ leaders in this tough stretch. Can she and the team hold on until then? (Photo Credit: UAAP Season 86 Media Team)

What’s next: NU Lady Bulldogs (April 14); Adamson Lady Falcons (April 17); Ateneo Blue Eagles (April 21); UST Golden Tigresses (April 27) 

Unfortunately, La Salle heads into at least one marquee matchup without Angel Canino. This alone already provides uncertainties for them as they face the NU Lady Bulldogs…on Sunday. 

And two, NU is looking very, very scary in the second round. Most recently, the Lady Bulldogs also pulled off a dominant sweep against the once-resurgent Ateneo Blue Eagles. After a close first set, NU pulled away in the succeeding sets, winning both by double digits. 

Unless Canino returns or La Salle composes themselves, their final elimination games are objectively a 50-50 chance. Early on, we’ve seen them pushed to the limit by also-ran UP, and most recently, a five-setter against UE.

So it’s very likely to see the Lady Spikers struggle against the Adamson Lady Falcons and the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Ateneo in particular, should still be looking to develop their core for next season, given how close they were to the Final Four before a post-break collapse. 

But, we never know. Besides Angel Canino’s potential return, La Salle could still find their stride in a team currently led by Shevanna Laput and Alleiah Malaluan. Yes, it’s far from being dominant, but possibly enough to hold on until Angel returns. 

Until then, uncertainty plagues the Lady Spikers. Although considering the timeframe, it’s not too far off to see Angel return against the UST Golden Tigresses by the 27th. 

NU Lady Bulldogs (9-2)
UAAP Season 86 Volleyball: NU Lady Bulldogs
National U’s “big three” of Bella Belen (left, no. 4), Vange Alinsug (middle, no. 6), and Alyssa Solomon (right, no. 12) continue to shine. (Photo Credit: UAAP Season 86 Media Team)

What’s next: DLSU Lady Spikers (April 14); Adamson Lady Falcons (April 20); FEU Lady Tamaraws (April 24) 

National U is arguably the scariest UAAP Season 86 volleyball team right now. With the Lady Bulldogs continuing to peak, we might just see them go undefeated to close out the second round. 

And as early as Sunday, is their crucial matchup against the still-shorthanded DLSU Lady Spikers. Should Angel Canino remain unavailable, odds should be in NU’s favor as they hope to secure a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.  

A twice-to-beat would be in NU’s grasp if they win against DLSU. Should their peak continue, Adamson and FEU should be well in their favor to close out eliminations. Adamson was a convincing win for NU in the first round, and the same goes for FEU, bar their errors and second-set collapse. 

Excluding any injuries or slumps, the Bella Belen, Alyssa Solomon, and Vange Alinsug-led NU has been the most dominant UAAP volleyball team in the second round. If they’ve found their stride now, what more as the eliminations end, and the Final Four inches closer? 

FEU Lady Tamaraws (6-4)
UAAP Season 86 Volleyball: Gerzel Petallo
Gerzel Petallo is one of FEU’s top options this season. (Photo Credit: UAAP Season 86 Media Team)

What’s next: UST Golden Tigresses (April 13); UE Lady Warriors (April 17); UP Lady Maroons (April 20); NU Lady Bulldogs (April 24) 

Amid their solid grip on the fourth seed, the FEU Lady Tamaraws have a late trial by fire against top-seeded UST.  As we’ve noted, FEU did come close to sweeping the Tigresses in the first round, before the latter rallied back.

Objectively, the odds are in UST’s favor heading into their matchup. All the more now, that UST’s recent win without Angge Poyos only showed how deep the Tigresses are. 

However, FEU has also looked good since UAAP volleyball returned after the week-long break. Besides their current win streak, Faida Bakanke continues to be a new scoring option for the Lady Tams, alongside veterans Chen Tagaod, Jean Asis, and Gerzel Petallo. 

A win against UST immediately places FEU at 7-4. While still at the fourth seed, this further solidifies their UAAP volleyball Final Four return for Season 86. 

While their odds against UST are uncertain, the Tams do have the UE Lady Warriors and UP Lady Maroons after–two teams they beat in the first round. Should FEU’s momentum continue, these should be two winnable games for them. 

The Lady Tams, though, will close their UAAP volleyball eliminations against the NU Lady Bulldogs. Simply put, the Lady Bulldogs are way, way far from the shaky squad that started UAAP Season 86. 

Banner Image courtesy of the UAAP Season 86 Media Team.

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