For the second straight match, the University of the East Red Warriors came close to finally punctuating their losing streak only to suffer another fifth-set collapse.
The Far Easter University Tamaraws maintained a steady hold on a Final Four spot, quelling the Warriors 25-21, 21-25, 18-25, 25-18, 15-9 in the UAAP Season 79 Men’s Volleyball Tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
After taking the first set convincingly, FEU looked gassed in the next two frames. As UE adjusted their attack, the Tamaraws were left stymied and buried in a 1-2 hole.
“Sa totoo lang, talagang malaki ang in-improve ng UE,” said FEU head coach Rey Diaz. “Siguro nagulat ‘yung players namin. Pero hindi dapat ganoon kasi maganda ang ginawa namin sa training. Hindi naman ganoong mababa ang intensity tulad ng nilaro namin kanina.”
Responding to their coach’s call, FEU whipped up a storm in the fourth set to force a decider. Down 2-4 in the fifth set, FEU slowly climbed back tying the set at 7-all. From there, the Tamaraws pushed the lead to 13-7 off solid attacks and UE errors, spelling the Warriors’ doom.
“Maganda ang nilaro namin noong huling dalawang set. Sana ganoon namin sinimulan ‘yung laro. Kailangan next games hindi na bumaba ‘yung intensity at effort,” lamented Diaz.
Middle blocker JP Bugaoan tallied a team-high 17 points while Peter Quiel and Greg Dolor added 15 points each.
FEU nets a 3-1 record, tied with the National University Bulldogs whom they will face on Saturday, at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Tamaraws earned a crucial win last year over the perennial finalists which they hope to repeat.
“Lamang nanaman ang NU sa height. Siguro panlalaban na lang namin doon ‘yung puso namin. ‘Yun naman lagi ang ginagamit ng FEU,” promised Diaz.
Clifford Inoferio managed 17 points for UE while skipper Edward Camposano added 15.
The Warriors (0-3) faces the defending champs Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles (3-0) on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
FEU (3) – Bugaoan 17, Dolor 15, Quiel 15, Garcia 10, Solis 10, Camcam 1, Paler 1, Silang 1, Suarez 1, Bautista 0, Marmeto (L)
UE (2) – Inoferio 17, Camposano 15, Alba 11, Lelic 10, Ortega 9, Magdaong 2, Adriano 1, Imperial 1, Aljas 0, Ernacio (L)