MANILA, Philippines - Third seed Far Eastern U reasserted its mastery over No. 4 University of Santo Tomas, 25-22, 27-25, 25-18, to move up to the next rung of the UAAP Season 79 men’s volleyball stepladder semis yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Center.
The Tams wiped out a 10-16 deficit in the third frame to complete another straight-set win over the Tigers and more importantly earn the right to face second-ranked National U for the remaining finals seat.
FEU and NU face off on Sunday with the Bulldogs enjoying twice-to-beat advantage. Unbeaten topnotcher Ateneo is waiting in the wings in the best-of-three championship series.
“Nakuha rin ng mga bata. Pinaghirapan namin ito (We worked hard for this and reaped dividends),” said FEU coach Rey Diaz after his charges went 3-0 versus UST this season, all three-setters.
“Napatunayan nila sa sarili na deserving mag-third seed pero hindi pa tapos (We were determined to prove we deserve to be the third seed but of course, the job’s not over yet),” said Diaz.
After squandering a 23-17 lead mostly due to errors, the Tams secured the first set via Peter Quiel’s off-the-block hit and Greg Dolor’s service ace.
Jude Garcia played the hero’s role in a closely fought second frame, breaking a 25-all standoff with an attack and an ace.
The Tigers put up a major fight in the third, storming to a six-point margin at the second technical timeout but the Tams rallied back and eventually grabbed a 19-17 upperhand.
UST pulled one back but the Tams countered with six unanswered points behind Dolor and Quiel to wrap it all up.
“Malaki ang tiwala ko sa team, alam kong kaya nila humabol, pina-practice naman namin ang ganyang sitwasyon (I was confident the team can still overcome the odds and pull through because they knew what to do under such situation),”said Diaz.
Dolor and Garcia spearheaded FEU’s scoring with 13 and 12, respectively, while Ronchette Lee Villegas dished out 17 excellent sets. Rikko Marmeto, bucking hand injury, had 17 excellent digs and 24 excellent receives to lead the defense.
Arnold Bautista paced UST with 12 hits.