Despite losing the services of ace hitter Lycha Ebon, Far Eastern University (FEU) found another gem in the name of Ivana Agudo, who had her breakthrough performance in perfect time to steer the Lady Tamaraws past the University of the East (UE) Lady Red Warriors in a five-set thriller, 25-15, 16-25, 12-25, 25-22, 17-15.
Agudo, who was hailed as the player of the game, exploded for a team-high of 12 points, coming from 11 attacks and an ace, to propel FEU to a 6-3 win-loss record in the second round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, March 30, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“Happy po ako kasi nagtulungan talaga kami. Isa po talaga kaming team noong oras na ‘yun at sobrang happy po ako para kanila ate kasi we were able to help them para manalo kami (I am happy because we really helped each other. We really worked as a team during that time and I am very happy for my seniors because we were able to help them win the game),” Agudo remarked.
After having her best performance of the season, Agudo admitted that she had to remind herself to take charge and boost her performance in any way possible; and that her performance exceeded her own expectations.
As she put it, “Para sa akin, sinabi ko sa sarili ko na kailangan ko rin mag-step up. Na kahit na ‘di man ako makapag-provide ng points, sa ibang paraan naman. Sobrang unexpected din po ng nagawa ko today (For me, I told myself that I also need to step up. That even if I could not provide points, I will step up in another way. My performance today was really unexpected).”
Down by two sets heading into the fourth frame, FEU head coach George Pascua reminded the girls to stick with the game plan and to just play their game.
“Sinabi ko sa kanila na kailangan maglaro as a team at nakaka-proud na nagawa nila ‘yun (I told them that they need to play as a team and it makes me proud that they were able to make it),” he said.
Veterans Heather Guino-o, Jerrili Malabanan, and Celine Domingo tallied 11 markers each while Czarina Carandang added five points. Setter Kyle Negrito finished with five points and 24 excellent sets while floor defender Ria Duremdes finished with 30 excellent digs.
Regarding the status of lefty Lycha Ebon, FEU Athletics Director Mark Molina told that she will be reevaluated with another MRI diagnosis after holy week and will be sidelined for at least three weeks.
The Morayta-based squad will look to extend their winning streak as they go head-to-head against league-leading Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) on April 3 at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
-Mark Steven V. Donque
(See full album here: UAAP 81 Women's Volleyball - FEU vs UE)