Following a two-game losing streak, the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws rebounded with a four-set triumph over the suddenly short-handed University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, 19-25, 25-19, 25-20, 27-25, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Tamaraws started the match flat, giving up a 9-1 run to hand UST the first set.
FEU lost momentum again in the second set, trailing 17-18 after several attack errors. From there, the match took an unfortunate turn as UST’s sophomore open hitter Milena Alessandrini fell awkwardly on her left knee after a botched combination play. She then had to be stretchered out of the court.
FEU went on an 8-2 rally to grab the second frame, before burying the Tigresses in an 11-6 hole to get ahead in the match.
The Tigresses stayed tough in the fourth set, evening the match at 18. The Lady Tamaraws then seemed to have the win in hand, but UST forced a deuce. The Tigresses blew two set points chances, and eventually crumbled after Eya Laure was blocked and coaxed into an attack error.
FEU head coach George Pascua was relieved to have seen his wards pull off a tight win after two heartbreaking losses.
“Intense, but sabi ko nga sa player ko, ang turning point natin ay yung game na yun. ‘Pag nanalo tayo, gaganda yung record natin, tataas ang morale. ‘Pag natalo tayo, trabaho pa rin tayo. Nanalo naman,” sais Pascua.
“‘Yung sabi ko, balik ulit kasi maraming experiences na nangyari na naka two sets kami, pagdating ng fourth or fifth doon bumibigay. ‘Yun ang mga crucial sets, kailangan mag-mature kami sa ganoong scenario. Na-realize naman nila kahit papaano,” he added.
Last season’s Best Blocker Celine Domingo topped the Lady Tams with 17 points. Graduating open hitter Heather Guino-O added 14.
Aside from Alessandrini’s knee injury, UST also had Sisi Rondina fight off right leg cramps, while Eya Laure aggravated a right shoulder injury. Laure finished with a season-high 20 points. Rondina added 16.
Both teams play their next matches on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. FEU (2-2) take on the University of the East Lady Warriors (1-2). Meanwhile, UST (2-2) face the De La Salle University Lady Spikers (3-0).
FEU (3) – Domingo 17, Guino-O 14, Ebon 11, Villareal 7, Cayuna 4, Malabanan 4, Ronquillo 3, Negrito 1, Hernandez 0, Duremdes (L)
UST (1) – Laure 20, Rondina 16, Viray 7, Alessandrini 5, Jimenez 3, 3, Pacres 3, Roldan 3, Galanza 1, Bicar 0, Roldan 0, Tuazon 0, Delerio (L)
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