The Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws eked out a crucial five-set win over fellow Final Four contenders University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, 27-25, 21-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-12 in the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, earlier today.
Both squads figured in tight first two sets filled with long rallies. Neither team held a lead greater than two in the opening set but the Lady Tamaraws had the inside track, leading 24-22. The Lady Maroons managed to salvage the set, getting a kill then an ace to force a deuce. But FEU eventually came out on top after a net violation on Isa Molde then an off-the-block spike from Heather Guino-O. The second set, however, fell in UP’s favor. Tight until the last fifth of the match, UP’s Isa Molde lifted the Lady Maroons to take five of the last six points, tying the match at a set apiece.
UP were poised to take the third frame, taking an eight point lead, 12-4, but they suddenly began coughing up errors. FEU nipped at the lead until a 6-0 run gave them a 19-all tie. From there, FEU’s wingers took control, making all the necessary offensive and defensive plays to put away the Lady Maroons.
Wary of another comeback, the Lady Maroons built an early lead in the fourth set and never looked back. The deciding fifth set became a test of will.
FEU took an early 10-6 lead, causing UP to burn both their timeouts. UP then came alive, heating up their offense to get as close as a single point, 12-13. But the Lady Tams were clutch, pulling a Bernadette Pons hit then a Toni Rose Basas swipe to take the match.
“Grabe ‘yung nilaro ng UP, talagang hindi sila sumuko. Kaya thankful ako na hindi ko nakitang sumuko ‘yung players ko. Talagang palaban kami. Hindi bumaba ‘yung morale kahit malamangan kami ng kalaban,” said FEU head coach Shaq Delos Santos.
Pons and Basas tallied 21 points apiece, while team captain Remy Palma and open hitter Heather Guino-O had 13 and 10 markers apiece.
UP team captain, Kathy Bersola towed her squad with 18 points while rookie wunderkind Isa Molde pitched in 17.
FEU now pull ahead of UP in the race to the Final Four. The Lady Tams stand at 3-2 while UP fall to 2-3.
FEU (3) – Basas 21, Pons 21, Palma 13, Guino-O 10, Villareal 7, Sy 2, Malabanan 1, Hernandez 0, Dionela , Cayuna 0, Atienza (L), Duremdes (L)
UP (2) – Bersola 18, Molde 17, Carlos 15, Dorog 11, Gannaban 7, Tiamzon 3, Buitre 2, Alinas 1, Basarte 0, Lai 0, Gaiser (L), Estranero (L)