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Tamaraws earn morale-boosting win over Maroons

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Still relying on their crop of promising young players, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws inched by the skidding University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons 25-23, 17-25, 26-24, 25-23, in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

Although the Maroons played their usual lineup with holdovers from last season’s roster, FEU’s experimental lineup lined with rookies out-played them in crucial points of the match. Looking for an all-around contributor, FEU head coach Joseph Santos slotted his usual starting libero, Rikko Marmeto in one of the wing spiker positions for the first time this season and then used his high-flying veteran Joshua Barrica as the starting libero. FEU also toggled its other attackers between middle and wing spiker positions to hopefully keep the UP defense on its heels. The lineup had its growing pains but still held it together just enough for UP to implode in the latter part of the sets.

“Maganda kasi nakikita na namin ‘yung lalaruin nila. Nakita na namin ‘yung kailangan namin i-adjust para sa mga susunod namin na laban sa kanila,” said Santos stressing the importance of every match they have against fellow UAAP teams.

The Maroons held late leads in every set they lost. In the opening set, they seemed to have control clutching a 22-20 lead after an Alfred Valbuena smash. UP then gave up three errors plus two aces from Marmeto to seal their loss. UP’s services and blocking buried FEU in the following set but their errors again dragged them down in the third frame. After playing hot potato with the lead, FEU conceded a 24–22 lead to the Maroons after a JP Bugaoan hit went wide. UP, however, surrendered three errors and a Greg Dolor ace, blowing more shots at set point. UP then controlled the enitre fourth set until they held a 22-20 lead. From there, FEU’s attackers took over with Greg Dolor and Rikko Marmeto bringingĀ their team to a 23-22 lead. UP then conceded their final error which FEU followed up with a combination play to seal their first win if the quarters.

“‘Yung tournament kasi na ‘to malaking bagay para sa mga bata naming player. As much as possible gusto ko mabigyan ng exposure lahat ng rookies ko,” expressed coach Santos who has consistently shuffled through his players in the tournament.

First-year open hitter, Jude Garcia fired home a team-high 15 points while team captain Greg Dolor poured in 13 markers. Marmeto and rookie middle blocker Peter Quiel each contributed 11 points.

UP team captain, Alfred Valbuena sizzled for a game-high 19 points while Wendel Miguel and rookie Mark Millete pitched in 18 and 16 markers respectively. UP’s loss marked their fourth straight and third of the Top 8 round.

FEU closes its season on Monday, August 31 against the CSB Blazers while UP will face the NCBA Wildcats on Wednesday, September 2.

The Scores

FEU (3) – Garcia 15, Dolor 13, Marmeto 11, Quiel 11, Bugaoan 7, Paler 6, Silang 1, Solis 1, Navas 0, Barrica (L)

UP (1) – Valbuena 19, Miguel 18, Millete 16, Raymundo 8, Acuna 3, San Pascual 2, Madrigalejos 0, San Pedro 0, Luna (L), Nasol (L)

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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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