FEU turns back UST, returns to Final 4
MANILA, Philippines – The FEU Lady Tamaraws averted disaster and staved off the comebacking UST Tigresses in a 5-set playoff thriller, 25-21, 25-15, 20-25, 16-25, 15-6, in the UAAP Season 77 women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday, February 25 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With the win, Far Eastern University returns to the Final Four for the first time since Season 74. Due to the semifinals stepladder format, FEU will face third seed NU Lady Bulldogs where the winner will advance to a duel with second seed DLSU Lady Spikers, who holds a twice-to-beat advantage.
The stepladder format returns this season due to an elimination round sweep from defending champions Ateneo Lady Eagles, who are automatically in the Finals with a thrice-to-beat edge.
It was a total team effort for the Lady Tamaraws with Bernadeth Pons and Geneveve Casugod with 17 points apiece.
Rookie outside hitter Heather Guino-o, who sustained FEU’s energy amid UST’s rally, also tallied a career-high 17 markers on 12 attacks and 4 service aces. It was her first double-digit outing of the season.
Mary Joy Palma added 11 points including two blocks, as she and setter Yna Papa were on-point on running attacks throughout the game.
The Lady Tamaraws nearly became victims of a costly endgame collapse as they allowed the Tigresses to climb back from a 0-2 set hole and force a deciding fifth set.
UST looked like an entirely different team in the third and fourth periods, buoyed by this season’s surprise explosive rookie Cherry Rondina, who finished with 11 points, all on kills.
But FEU regained their control in the final set, racing to an 8-2 lead as UST lost all momentum until the end.
Team captain Pam Lastimosa tried with all her might to lift her team over the hump but it was not enough as she registered a game-high 19 points built on 16 attacks, a couple of blocks, and an ace.
Marivic Meneses had 11 points including 4 rejections as the Tigresses missed a trip to the Final Four for the third straight season. – Rappler.com