- September 03, 2021 09:22
By Ohmer R. Bautista
Coming off two-straight losses, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws arrested their skid after pouncing on the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigresses, 19-25, 25-20, 25-19, 27-25, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, March 2, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
With the win, the Lady Tams improved to a 2-2 win-loss record. Moreover, FEU forged a tie with UST, who also sports an identical 2-2 card.
“Sabi ko nga sa mga players ko kanina sa dugout, ang turning point natin ‘yung game ngayon. ‘Pag nanalo tayo, gaganda ‘yung standing natin. At the same time, tataas ang morale. ‘Pag natalo tayo, trabaho pa rin tayo. ‘Yun pa rin ‘yung orientation ko sa kanila (Just like what I told my players in the dugout awhile ago, the turning point for us would be this game. If we win, our standings will get better. At the same time, it will boost our morale. If ever we loss, we will still keep doing our job. That has always been my orientation to them),” FEU head coach George Pascua said.
After dropping the first set, wherein they squandered an early lead, the Morayta-bred volleybelles struggled to regain their footing in the second set as UST raced to a 16-13 lead.
The Growling Tigresses, however, were dealt with a decisive blow midway through the set after UST winger Milena Alessandrini suffered an injury due to a bad landing and was stretchered off the floor.
“Nakakalungkot ‘yung mga ganoong pangyayari, ‘yung mga hindi inaasahan. Kahit na papaano, malaking tulong si Milena sa [kaniyang] team. Pero hindi naman natin pinagdadasal ‘yung mga ganoon. Pero kung nandiyan siya, medyo mahihirapan din kami pero lalaban kami (Those events that no one expects to happen are the ones that are most saddening. Somehow, Milena is a big help to her team. But we do not pray for those things to happen. However, if she was there, it would have been a tad tougher but we will make sure to compete),” coach Pascua stated.
As Alessandrini exits the floor, in glaring unison, the dominance of the Espana-based squad came to a screeching halt. Moreover, Eya Laure and Sisi Rondina seemed to have incurred injuries of their own as they wobbled and limped at the end of some sequences during the game.
The Lady Tamaraws, on the other hand, stuck with their game plan and remained composed which granted them the set lead at the end of the third set.
In the fourth set, FEU looked to close out the game after jumping to a 23-19 lead. Errors, however, marred the Lady Tamaraws as UST gladly seized the opportunity to knock within one, 23-24, before the latter eventually recaptured the lead at 25-24.
With backs against the wall, coach Pascua reminded her wards to push through the pressure-packed moments. As he put it, “Sabi ko nga sa kanila, ‘yun ang mga crucial sets na ‘wag bibigay kasi kailangan mag-mature kami sa mga ganung scenario (Like what I told them, those are the crucial sets that one must not back down from for they will attain maturity in those scenarios).”
As coach Pascua rallied her team, the green-and-gold volleybelles followed suit as FEU uncorked a 3-0 closing run to douse UST’s hopes.
Celine Domingo top scored for FEU with 17 points spiked by six blocks. Heather Guino-o and Lycha Ebon chipped 14 and 11 markers, respectively. Nette Villareal finished with seven points, six of which came at the blocking department to aid the Lady Tams, who finished with a total of 16 blocks to UST’s four.
The Lady Tamaraws look to build on this morale-boosting win as they take on the University of the East (UE) on March 6 at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
(See full album: UAAP 81 Women's Volleyball - FEU vs UST)