After dropping consecutive games, the FEU Lady Tamaraws regained footing in the race for a Final Four slot after sweeping the NU Lady Bulldogs, 25-23, 26-24, 25-10 for their third win in six games.
Even with NU’s towering star, Jaja Santiago turning in a terrific outing, FEU hung tough when it got tight and eked out close set wins in the first two sets. The Lady Tams proceeded to dismantle a demoralized Lady Bulldogs squad.
The first set was a see-saw battle, bannered by the powerful exploits of Santiago and FEU firing off spikes from its main suspects. NU claimed a late 22-20 lead only to fumble the set away with their own errors and miscues.
Continuing her hot start, Santiago buoyed her team to a 16-9 lead. It was then that the FEU booster’s drums arrived in the arena, sparking a run that rolled FEU to a 24-22 lead. NU forced a deuce with critical scores from Myla Pablo and Santiago. FEU’s beach volleyball tandem, Charm Simborio and Bernadette Pons drove home consecutive spikes for their team to seal the set.
FEU stepped on the gas pedal from there, building a 10-3 lead then stomping on their foes for the victory.
FEU rookie, Toni Rose Basas shared team-high scoring honors with sophomore Pons notching 15 apiece while Simborio had 11.
Santiago finished the game with 19 points off 15 spikes, three blocks and an ace while Rizza Mandapat and Pablo put in seven and six points, respectively. The game also saw the return of NU’s starting setter, Ivy Perez who sprained her ankle previously, but she did not start the game.
FEU Head Coach Shaq Delos Santos spoke to the media after the game. “Yung performance nila ‘pag practice maganda. Nandun lahat ng kilos na gusto namin makita. Kaya lang pagdating ng game medyo nawawala kasi nag-aadjust sila sa pressure.”
This victory marks Delos Santos’ first win going into the UAAP Christmas break. “Good thing magchri-Christmas kami nang masaya. Every UAAP lagi akong talo pag magchri-Christmas. So first time ko. Siguro mga six years na.”
Despite the victory, Delos Santos stated that the Lady Tams aren’t going to be resting on their laurels. “Hindi pa rin kami mag-stop so ngayon, bago mag Christmas and New Year, magpu-pursigi kami kasi kelangan pa namin ilabas ang laro ng mga bata eh. Meron pa yan eh, may nakatago pa. Kelangan lang nila madala at maipakita sa buong Pilipinas na nanonood ng volleyball.”
FEU – Pons 15, Basas 15, Simborio 11, Palma 5, Malabanan 4, Papa 2, Casugod 2, Guino-o 1, Dawson 1, Negrito 0, Amaro 0, Agno (L) 0
NU – Santiago 19, Mandapat 7, Pablo 6, Singh, 4, Soliven 1, Perez 1, Valdez 0, General (L)