1. Ateneo Lady Eagles (12-2)
Preseason prediction: 1st
Ateneo lived up to our expectations after besting the rest of field heading into the semifinals. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that this has not been the best of seasons for the Lady Eagles, especially after a midseason bump that saw them lose back-to-back games.
Likewise, it should be noted the Katipunan side has finally found its rhythm and it just made them more dangerous come the semifinals, where they will meet UP — a team that defeated them in Round 2.
A repeat won’t be easy for Ateneo, but as long as they play happy and sure, they surely will get to where they want to be. And with Alyssa Valdez on a roll, they should find the road to the championship a little less harder.
Eliminations stunner: Jho Maraguinot
2. DLSU Lady Spikers (11-3)
Preseason prediction: 2nd
Their big win over Ateneo highlighted their elimination-round campaign, but losses to NU and UST — two teams that failed to make the Final Four — are causes for alarm.
Nonetheless, the Lady Spikers have shown they have the chops to shine in big games and with their swag back, it will be hard to beat them in a 3-game series.
Kim Fajardo has been a beast while Majoy Baron and Kim Dy have proven they have what it takes to take over from Ara Galang and Mika Reyes after this season.
Expect rough sailing against FEU — a team that has constantly given them problems — but once they make it to the finals against either Ateneo or UP, an exciting battle royale is in the offing.
Eliminations stunner: Majoy Baron
3. FEU Lady Tamaraws (9-5)
Preseason prediction: 4th
Probably the most dangerous team outside of Ateneo and La Salle, FEU has been one of the most consistent teams of the season.
Peaking at the perfect moment, the Lady Tamaraws zoomed past UP to bag the third slot and a matchup with the Lady Spikers in the Final Four. That could work to their advantage, as the Morayta side has consistently proven they can go head-to-head with the second seeds.
With Gyzel Sy back in stellar form and Toni Basas, Bernadeth Pons and Rem Palma contributing from all angles, give FEU a decent chance of making the championship round.
Eliminations stunner: Toni Basas
4. UP Lady Maroons (8-6)
Preseason prediction: 5th
A surge midway through the tournament saw UP take the third spot momentarily, but a late-season meltdown — only averted by a slim win over UST — wasn’t a good omen coming into the playoffs.
The Lady Maroons, including their coach, have repeatedly said the slide is more about the immense pressure to make the Final Four they’ve been facing. Now that they’re in, expect a little more pressure because they will lock horns with defending champion and crowd favorite Ateneo.
A semifinal upset will be welcome, but expect the Diliman crew to be way stronger next year as they mature and develop mentally and physically.
Eliminations stunner: Isa Molde
5. NU Lady Bulldogs (7-7)
Preseason prediction: 3rd
NU was expected to be in the Final Four. Heck, we even thought the Lady Bulldogs would give both Ateneo and La Salle a run for their money.
For a while, they did, pushing the Lady Eagles to the limit in their first game before beating the Lady Spikers in an impressive manner.
But a loss to UST in the first round turned things around and now Roger Gorayeb and his wards are on the outside looking in.
It’s hard to disappoint with a 6-foot-5 middle blocker, a senior spiker, a veteran setter who has just come off a championship and promising youngsters. But NU has done it.
Whether they’ll be better in Season 79 remains to be seen, but hope springs eternal in Sampaloc, especially with recruits Gorayeb harped about after their ouster coming in.
Eliminations stunner: Jorelle Singh
6. UST Golden Tigresses
Preseason prediction: 7th
A roller-coaster ride is the perfect way to describe UST’s season, one that saw them beat La Salle but then lose to Adamson.
For this young team, it’s just a matter of consistency. But with Cherry Rondina and EJ Laure able to prove their worth and Alyssa Teope, Alina Bicar and Rica Rivera gaining valuable experience, the Golden Tigresses are a team definitely to be reckoned with in 2017 and beyond.
Lest we forget, Rondina, Laure and Rivera are just sophomores.
Eliminations stunner: Cherry Rondina
7. Adamson Lady Falcons (3-11)
Preseason prediction: 6th
Getting preseason training in Thailand didn’t do the trick for Adamson, which sputtered after an inspiring win over UST in their first game.
A loss to UE in their final outing of the season ended what has been a nightmare campaign for the Lady Falcons, whose coach Sherwin Meneses quit in the middle of the race.
Jema Galanza is a bright spot, so are Jellie Tempiatura and May Roque. With the tournament done, rebuilding begins in San Marcelino and we hope they turn the support of management into something positive in the near future.
Eliminations stunner: Jema Galanza
8. UE Lady Warriors (1-13)
Preseason prediction: 8th
Despite our prediction of UE ending the season in 8th place, we also saw them ending their losing streak any time this season. Indeed, they were able to do so, even if it took 13 tries.
They were able to pull off an impressive win against Adamson as they showed how much they are capable of. These girls will surely be a lot more of a threat in the coming seasons, especially since not a single Lady Warrior is leaving the team. They have a long way to go, but head coach Francis Vicente is now surely not ready to give up just yet.
Eliminations stunner: Judith Abil — By Arylle Magtalas