FEU steals straight-set win against NU to force do-or-die match

FEU Advocate
May 04, 2024 12:40

Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws upset the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs, 25-23, 25-17, 25-23, to extend their semifinal series in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament earlier today, May 4, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Lady Tamaraws were off to a promising start in the first set with all starting hitters already on the board going into the first technical timeout, 8-5.

However, the combination of NU's superior net defense and FEU's miscues in receptions kept the set close.

Fortunately, Tin Ubaldo continued to produce an unpredictable offense to record 15 FEU attacks to edge out the Lady Bulldogs' 13, enough to take the set, 25-23.

Going into the second set, the green-and-gold squad rode on their momentum to get a 16-9 lead before the second technical timeout.

Not looking back, the Lady Tamaraws dominated the set in attacks, aces, and points off unforced errors to lead by as much as nine and go up two sets to none, 25-17.

Eager to finish off the match, another dominant start came from the Morayta-based squad in the third set to build an early lead, 10-3.

The Jhocson-based squad did not go out without a fight, however, as Mhicaela Belen responded with a couple of swift attacks to close in on the score towards the end of the set, 19-18.

From then on, a seesaw affair took place between both squads, to be ended by a Faida Bakanke hit to complete the upset, 25-23.

In a post-game conference, head coach Manolo Refugia mentioned the Lady Tamaraws' faith in themselves as their key to the victory.

"Talagang ginusto namin [kaya] nag-ensayo kami. Naniwala sila na kaya nila, na kaya ng team, na kaya naming lahat na talunin talaga 'yung NU (We really wanted it so we trained. They believed that the team and every one of us can beat NU)," he said.

He also highlighted the need for the team to stay humble despite the emotions they felt.

"Hindi kami makakalimot na tumapak pa rin sa lupa. Parang 'yung feeling nasa cloud-nine so kailangan bumalik ulit. Hindi pa tapos talaga eh, meron pa, kaya pa, may maibubuga pa kaya ayun, laban talaga (We won't forget to keep our feet on the ground. The feeling is like we're in cloud-nine so we have to go back. It's really not yet done, we can still do and give more so we really have to fight)," he added.

Ubaldo was recognized as the Player of the Game with six attacks and 16 excellent sets.

Chenie Tagaod then led the scoring load with 12 points, followed by Jean Asis and Mitzi Panangin with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Julianne Monares also delivered an efficient performance, recording a game-high 14 excellent receives and 10 excellent digs.

Now closer to a chance to move on to the finals, the Refugia-led squad will face the Lady Bulldogs once again next week at a date and venue yet to be announced as of writing.

-Vince Matthew Jaramilla

(Photo by Zedrich Xylak Madrid/FEU Advocate)