Far Eastern University welcomes the challenge of winning twice against the squad that swept the Lady Tamaraws in the elimination round.
It will be a tall order for the Lady Tams to beat top seed and twice-to-beat Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Final Four, but the Lady Tams are ready come Saturday.
“I think whoever’s gonna want to win more is the one who’s gonna win the game,” said graduating hitter Jerrili Malabanan. “So just play with heart.”
The Lady Tams forged a third straight semifinals showdown with the Lady Eagles, however, FEU will be at the disadvantage this time.
The Morayta-based squad finished the elimination round at the no. 4 spot with a 9-5 win-loss record for a head-on collision with the same squad it booted out last year in the semis on its way to runner-up finish behind three-time defending champion De La Salle University.
Still, head coach George Pascua remains positive of the Lady Tams’ chances especially after a morale-boosting five-set win over the Lady Spikers last week to end the elims.
“So siyempre knowing naman Ateneo, powerhouse din naman ang team na ‘yun. Siyempre di kami titigil hanggan’t di namin naa-achieve ang goal namin,” said Pascua, hoping to steer FEU back to the Finals. “Pagtatrabahuhan pa namin. May mga ipa-polish na lang kami for Ateneo game and hopefully ma-achieve namin.”
Another graduating player, Heather Guino-o, sees their win over DLSU – a team that dominated them in eight straight head-to-heads since Season 78 Final Four – as a fuel to the Lady Tams’ desire to get back in the Finals.
“Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam kasi sobrang makakatulong po sa amin ito sa mga next games pa namin,” said Guino-o.
The hitter added that communication is the key for them to defeat Ateneo and force a winner-take-all.
“’Yun nga po na sinasabi ni coach na kapag nag-usap kami mas male-lessen ang errors namin saka kung sino talaga ang mas gustong manalo ‘yun ang manananalo,” she said.
FEU will also bank on outgoing setter Kyle Negrito, libero Buding Duremdes, Czarina Carandang and rookie France Ronquillo for the Lady Tams to live to fight another.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles