UAAP Volleyball

Don’t forget FEU: Defensive dark horse Lady Tamaraws put contenders on notice

JR Isaga

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Don’t forget FEU: Defensive dark horse Lady Tamaraws put contenders on notice

DEFENSE WINS. FEU libero Marga Encarnacion attempts a ball dig in the UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball tournament

UAAP Season 86 Media Team

Always two or three wins behind the top UAAP women's volleyball contenders, scrappy FEU steadily keeps pace with the last Season 86 Final Four spot, even looking poised for future upset wins

MANILA, Philippines – With all the talk surrounding the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament’s top three teams UST, La Salle, and NU, it can be quite easy to overlook the last spot in the early goings of the Final Four race.

Holding a modest 4-3 record after the first round of eliminations, the FEU Lady Tamaraws were, up until Sunday, March 17, about two to three wins behind the intense tug-of-war at the top as they found their own pace amid alternating wins and losses.

That all changed, however, after the Morayta-based spikers seized full control of the fourth spot by hosting a block party over the struggling Ateneo Blue Eagles on Sunday afternoon, ending the four-set win with a season-high 15 rejections evenly scattered across their entire starting six.

As the second round beckons, the Lady Tamaraws are proud to have a statement win they can call their own, as they continue to embrace the dark horse title heading into more serious games on the schedule.

“Our goal is to get back to the Final Four,” said FEU top scorer Chenie Tagaod, a member of the Season 84 squad that lagged to an embarrassing 1-13 record.

“We need to work on everything – service to attack, blocking, defense, receptions. We keep on working on those aspects and today, we got to see the fruit of that labor, and we keep on progressing every day.”

With a vastly improved roster led by the likes of Tagaod, setter Tin Ubaldo, spiker Gerzel Petallo, and blocker Faida Bakanke, FEU is expected to keep a firm hold of the fourth spot and within grasp of higher ranks, unless lower-placed teams like Ateneo and Adamson see significant second-round rallies.

Regardless of what happens to those around them, the Lady Tamaraws are just focused on their own pace and growth, and will look to further earn the respect of their upcoming foes, title contenders or otherwise.

“We just need to be consistent in what we do,” said head coach Manolo Refugia in Filipino. “Our preparation in the second round will include catching up on skills so we can study those three [teams above us] better.”

“We’re confident, but not too confident,” Ubaldo added in Filipino. “We will all battle one another again and anything can happen.” –

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