After stumbling in the first round, the FEU Tamaraws have found their groove, squeezing past the feisty DLSU Spikers, 25-17, 17-25, 25-22, 27-29, 15-10 at the San Juan Arena.
Both teams played splendidly on offense, as FEU showcased their myriad of attacks and combination plays while DLSU mowed through the undersized rotation of the Tamaraws. The match was ultimately decided by DLSU’s sloppy play, as the Spikers gave up 39 errors to FEU’s 29.
Both squads seemed to switch off their games every other set as they traded control of the match. The Tamaraws thoroughly dominated the first set as FEU setter Manolo Refugia masterfully orchestrated their complicated offense. The third set went down the wire with the Tamaraws surrendering control late in the set. FEU’s middle blockers, Greg Dolor and Lucky Margate pulled their team out of their rut.
La Salle’s Mike Frey powered La Salle to a decisive second set win with thunderous open spikes that FEU’s blockers couldn’t mark. The Tamaraws seemed to have the fourth set in hand with a 16-10 lead late. But a late rally led by Frey and John Onia placed the set at deuce. The Tamaraws managed to net two early match points in the deuce but could not convert when they needed it most. A late FEU attack error and a gorgeously set up play for Onia sealed the set for the Spikers.
The final set saw the Tamaraws blitz their foes early and never let up. FEU went up 5-1 in the set and quelled all La Salle attempts at a comeback.
The Tamaraws did a marvelous job spreading touches for their players as six players scored more than seven points. Dolor topscored for the Tams, notching 15 points while Joel Cayaban added 12 with four aces. Jeric Gacutan drove home crucial running spikes and tallied 14 points for the Tams while rookie Franco Camcam scored most of his points late in the sets and finished with nine.
La Salle’s Frey led all scorers with his 18 points while Onia added 15. Veteran Aaron Calderon bolstered the Spikers’ offense with 10 and Ralph Calasin put in 10 as well.
La Salle now sits at seventh with a 2-8 record while FEU is knocking at the door of the Final Four, sitting at fifth with a 4-6 record. FEU will face the AdU Falcons at the San Juan Arena on Feb. 4 while DLSU will face NU on the same day.
FEU – Dolor 15, Gacutan 14, Cayaban 12, Camcam 9, Margate 8, Paler 7, Barrica 3, Solis 2, Beliran 0, Refugia 0, Marmeto L. (L), Marmeto R. (L) 0
DLSU – Frey 18, Onia 15, Calderon 10, Calasin 10, Dimayuga 9, Dumago 7, Santos 4, Asia 1, Christensen 0, Movido (L) 0, Dizon (L) 0