By Jean Malanum

SPIKE. Lovely Lopez of Far Eastern University-Diliman (center) tries to score on a spike during the match against De La Salle Zobel in the UAAP Season 86 high school girls volleyball tournament at the Adamson University gym in Ermita, Manila on Thursday (Jan. 25, 2024). The Baby Tamaraws won, 25-17, 25-17, 25-10. (UAAP photo)

MANILA – Far Eastern University-Diliman on Thursday defeated De La Salle Zobel, 25-17, 25-17, 25-10, in the UAAP Season 86 high school girls’ volleyball tournament at the Adamson University gym in Ermita, Manila.

The Baby Tamaraws, who improved their record to 8-3, will face undefeated Adamson Baby Falcons (11-0) in the last match of the elimination round on Sunday.

If Adamson wins, it will get an outright final berth, paving the way for a step-ladder format. If FEU prevails, the Final Four will follow the traditional format.

Lovely Lopez and Clarisse Loresco made back-to-back attacks to give the Baby Tamaraws a 20-8 lead in the third set.

“Actually, it’s a bit difficult for us to train properly this week because our DepEd training is at the same time,” FEU-D coach RJ Del Rosario.

“But we will still prepare for Adamson because I have already seen a technique in my team. We need our mindset to beat Adamson, so that we are pretty sure of second place,” he added.

Meanwhile, the University of Santo Tomas outplayed Ateneo, 25-13, 25-10, 25-15, to share the No. 2 spot with FEU-D.

“We will still run through the game what we do in training, especially our game on Saturday is against National University Nazareth School (NUNS),” UST assistant coach Yani Fernandez said.

In the other game, NUNS clobbered University of the Philippines Integrated School, 25-7, 25-10, 25-7 to stay in fourth place at 7-4.

A victory for NUNS over UST will create a three-way tie for second place.

“This week, we’re actually using these games as preparation for the game against UST,” NUNS head coach Norman Miguel said. “Since Day 1 when we lost to FEU, we told them, ‘if you want to be champions again, you need the thirst, you need to be thirsty to get that again’.”

La Salle Zobel has a 3-8 slate followed by Ateneo at 2-9. UPIS is winless in 12 outings. (PNA)