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Falcons claim tight four-setter over fiery Tamaraws

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The Adamson University Falcons earned their third straight win of the UAAP Men’s Volleyball tournament at the expense of the much improved Far Eastern University Tamaraws in four sets 30-28, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19 at the FilOil Flying V Centre earlier today.

Firing off multiple combination plays, the Tamaraws bolted to an 8-4 advantage in the first set. But FEU’s offense slowly unraveled, getting errors from both serves and attacks. AdU wound up tying the match, 10-all, before catching a stream of six straight points for a 20-14 lead. Then it was AdU’s turn to stall, allowing FEU to climb all the way back into the set and force a deuce, 24-all, after Mike Sudaria attack fault. Adamson had multiple shots at set point but coughed up errors every time they had the advantage. FEU turned the tables when Jeric Gacutan blocked a Sudaria cross-court attempt for FEU’s only shot at set point, 28-27. AdU middle blocker banged a running hit off two blockers to keep Adamson alive. Then the young Tamaraws did themselves in, shooting two attack errors that gave Adamson the set.

Like the first set, FEU had control of much of the goings of the second frame. The Tamaraws maintained a steady two-point lead, fending off the Falcons with their coordinated whenever they tried to get close. FEU turned a 21-19 lead to a 24-20 advantage with hits from Jude Garcia and Gacutan. The Falcons managed one last push with Pao Pablico and Nikko Ramirez pulling the deficit down to two, 24-22. FEU’s Richard Solis, however, cut their comeback short, stifling a Bryan Saraza spike to tie the match.

Revitalized, the Falcons successfully attacked the gaps in FEU’s defense in the third frame. FEU hung with AdU early but lost focua as the set wore on. A slim 8-7 Adamson lead grew to as much as six, 16-10. Unlike the opening frame, the Falcons wasted no points and put the set out of reach through steady reception and serving.

The Falcons again soared to an early lead, 10-6 to start the fourth set. FEU rallied and tied the match at 14 but Adamson had enough compusure to finish the match. Led by Sudaria, Saraza and Pletado, the Falcons went on a 6-0 run, culling the weakened Tamaraws. Sudaria finished the match with a terrific short serve.

“Kapag nawawala ‘yung receive at blocking namin, talagang nahihirapan kami,” said AdU head coach Domingo Custodio. “Buti na lang naka-recover sila noong match kapag bumibigay sila.”

Saraza and Pletado had 16 points apiece while Sudaria contributed 11. The Falcons are now at 3-1.

Opposite hitter, Gacutan finished with 16 points while veteran middle hitter Greg Dolor added 12 for the Tamaraws. FEU now sits at 2-2.

The Falcons next take on the DLSU Spikers (2-1) on Sunday, February 21, 10 a.m. at the MoA Arena. FEU has the UST Tigers on Saturday, February 20 also at the MoA Arena.

The Scores

AdU (3) – Saraza 16, Pletado 16, Sudaria 11, Ramirez 8, Sarmiento 7, Pablico 6, Yude 3, Consunji 0, Melgar (L), Mendiolla (L)

FEU (1) – Gacutan 16, Dolor 12, Garcia 9, Barrica 5, Bugaoan 5, Paler 3, Solis 3, Villegas 2, Margate 2, Quiel 1, Silang , Suarez 0, Marmeto L. (L), Marmeto R. (L)

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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