- April 21, 2022 01:40
The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws made quick work of De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers after clinching a straight-set victory, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18, to sweep the first round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 81 men's volleyball tournament, March 16, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
"Blessing na malaking challenge para sa team (It's a blessing [and at the same time], a big challenge for the team)," FEU head coach Rey Diaz said after completing the first round of the eliminations with a sweep.
With an established momentum in the earlier part of the first set, the Tamaraws took control of the game to take the opening frame away from the hands of the Green Archers, 25-21, courtesy of 14 attacks, one kill block, and a service ace, with the down-the-line hit of RJ Paler as the set-winning play.
Down by three to begin the second set, Tam setter Owen Suarez activated the offense of the Tamaraws, enabling Paler to unleash an off-the-block hit followed by a quick hit in the middle of JP Bugaoan, and stay within one, 3-4. The Morayta squad committed a series of errors then, enabling La Salle to create a three-point cushion at 5-8.
With consistent firepower, the Tamaraws outplayed the Archers in the latter part of set, regaining momentum at 24-20, before rookie Mark Calado ended the set with a crosscourt kill at 25-20.
Both teams showed equal eagerness in the early part of the third set, exchanging offensive spurts to have control over the other. A service error by DLSU’s Wayne Marco pushed FEU to the first technical time out with the lead, 8-5.
Veterans of DLSU unleashed a series of attacks to stay within two at 11-9. A five-to-two run by the Tamaraws enabled FEU to have a five-point cushion heading to the second technical time out, 16-11.
Having the full control of the match, FEU veterans gave problems to the defense of DLSU after a series of off-the-block hits by Bugaoan and Jude Garcia, which made FEU’s cushion to balloon to six at 22-16. A slide attack by Peter Quiel, followed by back-to-back service aces of Garcia concludes the match at 25-18.
Middle hitter Bugaoan emerged as the player of the game after having 16 points via 11 attacks, four blocks, and an ace, followed by Jude Garcia with 12 markers. Tams skipper Richard Solis added nine points while Quiel and Paler contributed seven and six markers, respectively. FEU setter Suarez finished with 27 excellent sets and a point.
"So far gumaganda naman ['yung performance ng team]. By the process, we're looking pa rin sa gelling ng team. Gusto talaga naming makuha 'yung hundred percent performance ng bawat isa (So far, the performance of the team is getting better but we're still looking for the gelling of team. Our main goal is to reach the hundred percent performance of each one of us),” skipper Solis stated regarding the team’s output.
Moreover, Solis, the FEU veteran, mentioned that the team is not making a big deal of their first round sweep as they know full well that their battle is still far from over.
As he put it, “’Yung number of wins, wala naman sa'min 'yun. ‘Yung pagka- sweep ng first round, wala 'yun. Gusto lang namin maging mas maganda pa 'yung lalaruin ng team kasi numbers lang 'yun. 'Di pa naman tapos 'yung laban, malayo pa (As for the number of wins, it's nothing for us. As regards the first round sweep, it's not a big deal. We only want to improve the performance of the team because it's just numbers. The battle is not done yet, there is still a long way to go)."
With the win, the FEU Tamaraws now hold a 7-0 win-loss record as they remain to be the lone team in the league without a loss.
-Mark Steven V. Donque
(See full album: UAAP 81 Men’s Volleyball - FEU vs DLSU)