MANILA, Philippines – The FEU Lady Tamaraws dug deep in the clutch to survive the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a five-set stunner, 25-12, 15-25, 19-25, 25-15, 18-16, in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, March 8.
Eighteen-year-old libero Marga Encarnacion had the game of her young life, tallying 35 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions to shore up FEU’s defense and help the team snap a two-game skid for a 2-2 record.
Jov Fernandez topscored for the Lady Tamaraws with 18 points off 15 attacks, 2 aces, and 1 block, while rookie spiker Alyzza Devosora scored 13 in FEU’s first win over Ateneo since the UAAP Season 81 Final Four back in 2019.
In a fifth-set sequence perfectly encapsulating the wild rallies that ran through the first four frames, FEU started strong with a 4-1 blitz before Ateneo countered with a 6-1 run to mount a 7-5 lead.
The Lady Tamaraws then struck back with a separate 5-0 spurt to get ahead, 10-7, that set the stage for back-to-back Devosora hits for match point, 14-12. Faith Nisperos, however, had other plans, as she scored three of Ateneo’s four match-point savers to extend the game until 16-all.
Unfazed by the madness ensuing in the clutch, Fernandez wound up for another match point off a down-the-line hit, 17-16, before Gerzel Petallo scored a game-winning block on AC Miner that sent the FEU bench and fans to a well-deserved explosion of emotions.
“Hopefully, this is not the last, right? That’s my thought, we have to improve more,” said FEU head coach Tina Salak in Filipino. “I’m thankful for my freshmen like Mitzi [Panangin], Marga, Gerzel, and Aly. They stepped up for the team. I wasn’t expecting that, but I’m very proud with what they showed.”
Ateneo captain Faith Nisperos led all scorers with 21 points, while Miner and Lyann de Guzman respectively scored 17 and 16 points in the loss that sent the Eagles to their second straight loss for a 1-3 slate.
FEU hopes to continue messing up the league’s early-season standings in its next upset bid against the undefeated La Sally Lady Spikers on Saturday, March 11, 12 pm, at the PhilSports Arena.
Ateneo, meanwhile, hopes to arrest its skid before things spiral out of control against the contending Adamson Lady Falcons on Sunday, March 12, 2 pm, also at PhilSports. – Rappler.com
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