Last season’s bronze medalists Far Eastern University continued their tradition of taking down champions on the first day. The Tamaraws stifled the defending champions National University Bulldogs, 25-12, 25-18, 25-17, to begin the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
FEU bulldozed NU in each set. The Tamaraws began their onslaught early, building a wide 16-7 wall in the first set. From an 8-11 disadvantage, the Tamaraws piled on a decisive 7-0 run that put the second set away. The Bulldogs seemed to regain momentum in the final set, taking an 8-7 lead. But the Tamaraws played too efficiently, slamming the Bulldogs with a 9-1 run to put the match out of reach.
“Masarap talaga ‘yung feeling kasi kita mong gusto talaga manalo ng players namin,” said FEU head coach Rey Diaz. “Pero first game pa lang. Good win para sa amin, pero kailangan namin ma-maintain ‘yung ganitong focus throughout the season.”
The Tamaraws tallied a record nine errors, while the Bulldogs gave away 32. The graduating captain fired in nine points, while Jude Garcia and JP Bugaoan each managed eight markers.
Last season, the Tamaraws scored an opening win over then-defending champ Ateneo, also in straight sets.
Bryan Bagunas was the lone bright spot for the Bulldogs with 15 markers.
FEU (1-0) take on the University of the Philippines (0-1) on Wednesday. Meanwhile, NU (0-1) will try to bounce back against University of the East (1-0) on Saturday. Both games will be played at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
FEU (3) – Solis 9, Bugaoan 8, Garcia 8, Quiel 7, Paler 5, Suarez 5, Calado 1, Padon 0, Salabsab 0, Silang 0, Barrica (L), Lorenzo (L)
NU (0) – Bagunas 15, Almendras 6, Malabunga 4, Natividad 4, Saura 4, Gampong 3, Ancheta 2, Mondero 0, Marcos (L)