Eyeing redemption after falling short of the title last season, Far Eastern University made sure to start off its campaign on the right track.
The Tamaraws held off University of the East, 25-10, 25-22, 25-23, to open the UAAP Season 82 men’s volleyball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“Magandang opportunity na grinab naman ng team. Kaya naman kami nagpunta dito to get the game, so the team is so blessed na nakuha namin ang game,” FEU head coach Rei Diaz said.
Last year’s finalist sprinted out of the gates, dictating the tempo early. But errors from the Tamaraws — 15 total in the second set — allowed the Red Warriors to pick up steam and stay in thick of the fight.
Facing a rough patch late in the decisive third frame after trailing 21-23, FEU relied on the scoring exploits of JJ Javelona. The league’s Season 81 Juniors MVP went on a scoring binge, uncorking four consecutive hits to close out the match.
“Magaling ‘yung UE, nag-adjust sila. Medyo matagal kami naka-adapt and nag-adjust, so magandang lesson para sa team,” Diaz added. “‘Yun naman ‘yung system na meron tayo e. Kailangan manalo o matalo, ang mahalaga natututunan tayo. Magandang opportunity ‘yun na malagay sa ganoong sitwasyon para may matutunan pa rin.”
Javelona, a rookie out of FEU’s high school program, spearheaded the charge with 11 points. Peter Quiel and Jude Garcia provided ample support with 10 and nine markers, respectively.
Meanwhile, JP Bugaoan and Mark Calado made their presence felt above the net with four and three blocks apiece, fortifying FEU’s wall that outperformed UE, 11-5. The two finished with eight points each.
FEU setter Owen Suarez tossed 15 excellent sets, powering the Tamaraws in the attacking department, 37-28.
UE, on the other hand, was led by Kenneth Culabat and Lloyd Josafat with 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
FEU seeks to make it two in a row when it collides with UST on Sunday, March 8. Meanwhile, UE tries to chalk a win up when it faces UP on Saturday, March 7. Both matches will be held at the same venue.