There was a thunderous roar in the SM Mall of Asia Arena’s hallway on Sunday afternoon.
The Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws huddled around excitedly after the NU Lady Bulldogs edged out the UP Lady Maroons.
The Lady Maroons’ loss meant UP were officially out of the Final Four race, and also assured FEU of their spot in the semis.
The Lady Tamaraws were understandably happy to have made the Final Four for the fifth straight year. However, they still had a match against the UST Golden Tigresses – who had also clinched a Final Four spot thanks to UP’s loss.
But the Tigresses came out with much more fire than FEU. UST’s Sisi Rondina-Eya Laure attack was too much for the Lady Tamaraws, who fell in three sets.
“Naka-secure naman na ng top four, pero ang target talaga namin is at least mag-number two.
“May purpose kaya nangyari ang mga bagay-bagay. Mas matindi pa ang haharapin. Sa Final Four, ready for battle na ‘yan – no excuses na ‘yan,” said FEU head coach George Pascua.
The calm FEU mentor admitted that he could see something off with his players prior to the match. Had FEU won, they would still have had a chance at the second seed and a twice-to-beat advantage.
“Nakita ko nga ‘yung body language. Mahirap mang sabihin, pero ang reality, parang masaya sila na natalo ang UP. Pero di naman ‘yun ang hinahangad namin – [kailangan] talunin pa rin ang UST. Siguro, masyado lang sila na-excite noong nalaman nila na ganoon ang magiging sitwasyon,” opined Pascua.
“Hindi ko nakita talaga ‘yung training namin na game plan talaga namin sa UST. Noong third set na lang, pero late na. Nawala ‘yung aggresiveness kasi, ‘Uy! Pasok na tayo!’ Pero hindi dapat ganoon ‘yung attitude nila. Ayaw ko naman silang i-judge. ‘Yung scenario talaga kanina, naging factor na natalo ‘yung UP,” he continued. `
Given this, Pascua is thankful the Lady Tamaraws will have the Holy Week break to prepare for their last elimination round match against the DLSU Lady Spikers.
“Galing kami sa talo sa kailangan makapagnilay-nilay kami kasi mahirap na talo ka tapos laro ka agad. ‘Yung adjustment namin magiging malaking bagay.”
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