Defending champion National University-Nazareth School and University of Santo Tomas lived to fight another day after disarming separate twice-to-beat foes in the UAAP Season 82 Boys’ Volleyball Final Four, Sunday at the Blue Eagle Gym.
The Bullpups made quick work of second-ranked University of the East, 25-19, 25-18, 25-22. Meanwhile, the Junior Tiger Spikers pounded No. 1 Far Eastern University-Diliman, 25-20, 20-25, 26-24, 25-22.
The pair of do-or-die matches to determine the two finalists are scheduled on Wednesday at the Paco Arena.
Arvin Bandola was solid for NU with 13 points, including two blocks, and 14 receptions. Michael Fortuna had three blocks to finish with 12 points to go along with 10 digs.
“Ito na ‘yung hinihintay ko. Bumalik na ‘yung tiwala nila sa isa’t isa, [while] at the same time, napaghandaan talaga namin ito. Wala kaming bakasyon,;even All Saints’ Day, nag-ensayo kami. Malaking bagay ‘yung effort na ginawa namin,” Bullpups coach Edgar Barroga said.
Angelo Reyes paced the Junior Warriors with eight points. On the other hand, top gunners Francis Babon, Joshua Espenida, and John Paul Mangahis were non-factors.
Captain Rey De Vega led UST with 20 points, CJ Segui delivered an all-around game of 12 points, 27 receptions and 10 digs. Meanwhile, Paul Colinares and Jay Rack Dela Noche combined for 21 points.
Trailing by a point in the fourth frame, 18-19, the Junior Tiger Spikers scored seven of the match’s last 10 points capped by De Vega’s backrow attack to force the winner-take-all.
UST finished the third canto on a 6-1 blitz to turn a 20-23 deficit to 26-24 and the commanding 2-1 set advantage.
Despite erasing their opponent’s twice-to-beat advantage, the Junior Tiger Spikers are not taking the Baby Tamaraws for granted.
“Babalik at babalik si FEU kapag kami ang lamang kasi number one team ‘yan. But tulad ng last game namin, ‘yung resiliency ng mga bata nandoon, hindi nawala,” said UST assistant coach John Abella.
Jerold Talisayan had 13 points. Angelo Lipata, Rans Cajolo, and Emmanuel Advincula each tallied 11 markers for the Baby Tamaraws, who committed 37 errors.