Far Eastern University survived the first match that went the distance in the V-League Men’s Collegiate Challenge, marked by straight-set romps, by repelling De La Salle University with a score of 25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 16-25, 17-15, on Sunday at the Paco Arena.
The Tamaraws overcame significant deficits to upend the Green Spikers, including a 9-13 hole in the deciding set. Dryx Saavedra stepped up to anchor the team’s stirring 8-2 closing run, which was capped by back-to-back kills that ended the tense-filled two-hour, 24-minute match.
Saavedra wound up with 25 points, all from spikes, as the Tams rebounded from a shutout loss to the favored National University Bulldogs in the opener last Wednesday, bringing their record to 1-1.
“Yung nangyari sa game is make-or-break din kasi balikatan yung laban. Sa mga ganitong pagkakataon, test of character din ng mga players kung paano mag-handle ng pressure,” sabi ni newly-installed head coach Ed Orcullo.
Andrei Delicana added 16 points with 12 spikes, three blocks, and an ace, while Jomel Codilla finished with nine markers for FEU.
Meanwhile, Ateneo de Manila University battled back from a set down and repulsed Emilio Aguinaldo College, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-16, to kick off its campaign in the other men’s result of the two-division tournament organized by Sports Vision and supported by Bola.TV, Beyond Active Wear, Asics, and Mikasa.
The Blue Eagles scored eight unanswered points to pull away from a tight 9-all count in the fourth set. Kennedy Batas spiked their decisive blast with two consecutive hits, and Anil Pacino sealed it with an ace.
“For a first game, we’ll take this win. Kahit may mga pagkakataon na lamang kami, biglang hahabol yung kalaban, pero kami ay babawi rin,” said Ateneo head coach Timothy Sto. Tomas.
Playmaker Enzo Gutierrez provided some spark off the bench, setting up Batas and Jian Salarzon for several hits. Batas ended up with 13 points, including nine kills, while Salarzon produced a game-high 18 markers, including four blocks.
Ervin Osabel scored 14 points, and Bryan Cabrera added 11 markers with two blocks for the Generals, who also bowed to the Perpetual Help Altas last Wednesday.