- January 30, 2024 09:01
By Ohmer R. Bautista
The Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws heated up early only to crumble late against the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Lady Eagles, 25-14, 25-19, 21-25, 18-25, 12-15, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 81, February 24, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
"Ngayon, positive naman [ang atmosphere sa dugout]...ang kagandahan lang [ng laro], na-e-execute namin 'yung game plan namin noong first at second [set]. Ayun nga lang, hindi namin na-sustain noong huli (It was a positive atmosphere in our dugout...the good side of our game was we were able to execute our game plan during the first and second set. The thing is, however, we were not able to sustain it)," FEU head coach George Pascua expressed.
After Ateneo rallied back from a two-set deficit, the Lady Tamaraws figured in a neck-and-neck affair in the decisive fifth set, wherein multiple deadlocks ensued.
Tied at 10-all, Heather Guino-o gave the Morayta-based squad daylight as she hammered one in over the outstretched arms of the more lanky Ateneo defenders. Maddie Madayag, however, refused to let the Lady Tams pick up steam as she answered back with a kill of her own.
In a pressure-packed atmosphere, Madayag momentarily succumbed to the tension after her serve sailed wide. As it turned out, however, this costly turnover proved to be FEU's last ray of hope as the absence of a go-to-person remains to be a puzzle that the team has yet to solve.
"Actually, 'yung mga inaasahan ko, ’yung mga beterano talaga. Gusto ko sana sa kanila, not only as veterans, 'yung gusto ko na pag-le-lead nila, in action. Sila mismo 'yung mag-lead 'pag ganoong crucial (Actually, the ones I'm putting my expectations on are the veterans. What I want from them is, not only as veterans, that leading should be done in action. They should be the ones who will lead in crucial times)," Pascua added.
Moreover, in Ateneo's last four points, three of which came from FEU's untimely miscues. These late-game blunders could have been eluded if only they ended the game a few sets early, as it was all FEU in the early-goings of the match, after the Lady Tams established a lopsided trend in first and second sets.
However, this loss could be the start of something positive for the team. As former FEU captain Bernadeth Pons opined, "So 'yung sinabi ko lang na 'pag bandang dulo, doon sa ’pag dikdikan na, doon na sila sa decision making nag-aalangan. Ang sabi ko lang na 'yung game nila ngayon, 'yun ang game na magpapatibay lalo sa character nila as a player (What I'm trying to say is at the tail end of the game, when the pressure is at its highest, they are starting to get hesitant with their decision making. Their game today is one of those games that will strengthen their characters as a player)."
Guino-o led all Tamaraw scorers with 16 points spiked by 14 attacks. Team captain Jerrili Malabanan and Ced Domingo added 13 markers each for FEU, who have dropped two games in three outings.
Buding Duremdes, on the other hand, contributed in the digging department as she tallied 42 out 52 excellent digs. Lady Tams will look to get back on track as they take on the upstart University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigresses on March 2 at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
(See full album: UAAP 81 Women's Volleyball - FEU vs Ateneo)