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FEU Tamaraws clinch long-awaited Finals return, drop Ateneo


After a near half-decade absence, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws booked a seat in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Volleyball Finals, eliminating the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, 21-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

FEU last made the championship round in Season 75, where they lost to National University. Season 75 was also the last time the Blue Eagles did not make the Finals.

The Blue Eagles had the upper hand early in the first set, building a 16-14 gap and nourishing it until the end. The second frame was a back-and-forth affair ultimately decided by an Ateneo error. The third frame was nearly identical, as FEU also clinched the win with an Ateneo attack error.

Ateneo gave up 24 errors in the second and third frames alone.

FEU controlled the last set, gaining an insurmountable 21-16 lead.

Head coach Rey Diaz lauded his players’ emotional stability through their rough first two sets.

“Kailangan lang talagang kontrolin ‘yung emotions. Kailangan namin i-handle ‘yung pressure para maibalik ‘yung timing. ‘Yung mga maliliit na bagay ‘yung nagiging problema namin kanina,” said Diaz.

“Sobrang thankful kami sa lahat ng sumuporta namin this season. Lahat ng paghihirap ng coaches at players nagsisimula ng magbunga,” he added.

FEU was eliminated last year by Ateneo that still had eventual five-time MVP Marck Espejo.

The Tamaraws were offensively balanced with Jude Garcia tallying 14 points. JP Bugaoan added 13, while captain Richard Solis managed 12. FEU were also stingy with errors, giving up just 25 to Ateneo’s 37.

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Tony Koyfman, who played his last match as a Blue Eagle, powered in a game-high 21 points, while Janjan Rivera added 15.

Jasper Tan and Manuel Sumanguid also played their last UAAP game.

The Tamaraws will meet the victor of tomorrow’s NU-Adamson tiff in the Finals which begins on Saturday, next week at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.


The Scores

FEU (3) – Garcia 14, Bugaoan 13, Solis 12, Paler 9, Quiel 9, Calado 2, Padon 0, Silang 0, Suarez 0, Barrica (L), Lorenzo (L)

ADMU (1) – Koyfman 21, Rivera 15, Njigha 11, Medalla 10, Glorioso 8, Cuerva 1, Magadia 1, Aguilar 0, Morado.0, Sumanguid (L)

Written By

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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