When one loss means goodbye for Lady Maroons

THE race for the remaining three Final Four berths in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament will have a clearer picture this weekend before the league heads into the annual Holy Week break.

Among four teams fighting for a spot in the semifinals, University of the Philippines, which was tipped as one of the favorites owing to its impressive showing in the pre-season competitions, is in danger of missing the Final Four.

Sitting in fifth place with an even 6-6 record, the Lady Maroons are two wins out of the No. 4 spot.

UP's last two elimination round opponents are against also-ran teams - National University on Sunday and Adamson on April 27.  The Lady Maroons, however, bowed to the upstart Lady Bulldogs in five sets in their first round showdown.

A loss in any of the last two games would send UP out of the next round.

Three squads have already tallied eight wins - defending champion La Salle, University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University - and are assured of a playoff for the last semis slot.  With a second-best 8-3 record, the Lady Spikers hold a half-a-game lead over the joint third placers Tigresses and the Lady Tamaraws.

With three matches remaining including tomorrow's rivalry game with early semifinalist Ateneo, La Salle needs to win only one of them to be safe in the Final Four.  If they fail against the Lady Eagles, the Lady Spikers can still bag their 11th consecutive Final Four appearance with a victory against either already-eliminated University of the East or FEU after the Holy Week break.

The winner of this Sunday's match-up between traditional powerhouses UST and FEU will secure qualification to the semifinals.  

If they lose to the Lady Tamaraws, the Tigresses have another shot of making it to the Final Four after a one-year absence against the Lady Bulldogs on April 27.