- September 08, 2023 09:57
The Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws shrugged off early jitters to take home their first win after neutralizing the young, 11- woman core of the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-12, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 81 Women’s Volleyball tournament last February 16 at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The Lady Tamaraws went on a hot start establishing an early lead, 10-4, to take control of the first set. Celine Domingo added back-to-back points courtesy of a block and a drop shot in the middle to have a five-point cushion, 16-11. They led by as much as eight points, 21-13; but a 10-to-2 run by the Lady Bulldogs caught the Lady Tamaraws off-guard to snatch the first set away from the hands of FEU, 22-25.
After surrendering the first set, FEU went on several adjustments in the starting line-up, which started with the services of setter, Kyle Negrito, and hitter, Heather Guino-o. The green-and-gold squad opened the second frame on a high note with a couple of sharp crosscourt shot and a drop ball by Lycha Ebon, followed by an ace by Domingo to create an early lead, 5-1.
A shaky Bulldogs committed a series of attack errors making the cushion of the Tamaraws to balloon to 13, 23-10. NU tried to make a comeback but a service error by Joyme Cagande gave FEU the set, 25-19. FEU held their momentum up to the third set to take a 2-1 set advantage heading to the fourth set.
The two teams exchanged a series of attacks keeping the score tight in the early part of the fourth set, 8-8. NU’s net defense challenged FEU’s attackers, making FEU trail by two, 8-10, after a back-to-back block against Jerrili Malabanan and France Ronquillo.
But having the championship experience, the Morayta-based squad rallied a 13-to-nothing run led by Domingo’s solid play in the middle to take a commanding lead, 21-10. Czarina Carandang hammers a quick hit, followed by a service ace by Ronquillo, completing the victory with the score, 25-12.
“I’m happy that our team won the game but I think there’s a lot of things we need to work on,” team captain Malabanan expressed.
“’Yung NU kasi sa’min, unfamiliar ‘yung iba. Nagulat nang kaunti kaya ayun nagkaroon ng konting adjustment pero nabawi naman namin (Some of NU’s players were unfamiliar for us. We were surprised at first that is why we had some adjustments, but we were able to take it back),” FEU head coach George Pascua shared about the first set loss of her team.
With the departure of former team captain Bernadeth Pons, the future of the Lady Tamaraws remains bright as top rookie from Davao, Ebon, had exploded in her debut game in the UAAP after notching her first ever Player of the Game (PoG) award with 13 points, leading the squad in the scoring list.
“Happy po ako kasi first time ko mag UAAP tapos panalo pa. Tapos kanina iniisip ko na lang po ‘yung mga tinuro sa’min ni coach, ‘yung palagi niyang sinasabi na sundin niyo lang at mananalo tayo (I’m happy because it is my first time in the UAAP and it comes with a win. I reminded myself earlier of the teachings of our coach, that we only need to follow what he has been saying, and we’ll be able to win),” Ebon shared.
The Morayta-based squad improves to a 1-0 record and will try to avenge their Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference (PVL-CC) Finals loss against University of the Philippines (UP) as they battle on February 20 at the same venue.
-Mark Steven V. Donque