The Far Eastern University Tamaraws clinched a critical win over the University of Santo Tomas Tigers, nailing their España counterparts in four sets 25-21, 24-26, 31-29, 25-21 at the MoA Arena earlier today.
UST kept the first set close throughout until their backline suddenly lost form. Tied at 18, FEU rookie Peter Quiel clinched the set through his serving. Quiel led a 5-0 run where he served two aces. UST made a last ditch run with FEU at set point 24-19. FEU fumbled two errors in a 3-0 UST run but the Tigers eventually gave the set to FEU as setter Timmy Tajanlangit served long.
Surrendering errors, FEU allowed UST to bolt to a 21-13 lead in the second set. Adjusting their lineup, FEU found an offensive rhythm and rattled off six straight points. FEU opposite hitter Jeric Gacutan and team captain Joshua Barrica then towed FEU to a deuce, 24-all, saving two set points in the process. The Tigers then halted the comeback, making plays at the net to clinch the set off a block then a kill on an over passed ball.
The third frame became FEU’s turn to absorb a ferocious comeback. The Tamaraws controlled the set throughout leading by four at multiple times. Trailing 20-23, the Tigers caught a break, getting a kill from Kris Roy Guzman then two FEU attack errors. The set dragged into another prolonged deuce with both teams getting set point numerous times but giving up an error in the following point. Tied at 29, FEU veteran middle blocker Greg Dolor came alive, stifling back-to-back UST attacks to pull his team to a 2-1 sets lead.
Both team figured in another close set in the fourth. Even with their two key players Patrick Balse and Anthony Arbasto going down with injuries early in the frame, UST fought and wound up in a 20-all tie. But FEU put the match away late, pulling contributions from their young players to net five of the last six points.
“Talagang binigyan kami ng magandang laban ng UST ngayon kahit the past few games mababa ‘yung laro nila,” said FEU head coach Rey Diaz. “Lahat sa team ngayon nagcontribute. ‘Yun naman talaga hinahanap namin. Sana magtuloy-tuloy na at mabigyan pa kami ng kumpiyansa.”
Rookie Jude Garcia anchored a balanced FEU score sheet with 16 points, Greg Dolor added 15, while Richard Solis and JP Bugaoan each tallied 10 markers.
First-year open hitter Manuel Medina topped the Tigers with 17 points while beach volleyball veteran KR Guzman managed 11 points.
FEU (3-2) will face the DLSU Green Spikers (1-3) next Sunday, February 28, 8 a.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre. UST (1-4) will take on the Adamson Falcons (3-1) next Saturday, February 27, 8 a.m. at the Smart Araneta Colesium.
FEU (3) – Garcia 16, Dolor 15, Solis 10, Bugaoan 10, Gacutan 9, Paler 5, Quiel 3, Barrica 2, Margate 1, Villegas 1, Silang 0, Suarez 0, Marmeto L. (L), Marmeto R. (L)
UST (1) – Medina 17, Guzman 11, Balse 6, Carodan 5, Arbasto 4, Buro 4, Sumagaysay 4, Tajanlangit 3, Amagan 1, Castillo 0, Pangan (L)