PVL Finals: UP uses crowd advantage to down experienced FEU
Mark Escarlote on Sep 10, 2018 11:29 AM
I was surprised. They were all cheering, the whole crowd. Everywhere I look around there were UP (fans). Where do they come from? I think from Diliman, yeah? -- UP head coach Godfrey Okumu
University of the Philippines may be at a disadvantage in terms of championship experience against seasoned Far Eastern University but the Lady Maroons have their own weapon – their crowd support.
The UP faithful filled the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Sunday, dwarfing the Lady Tamaraws’ crowd.
FEU did get the upper hand early by claiming the first two sets silencing UP’s supporters but an opening in the tightly-contested third set sparked an exciting comeback that pushed the Lady Maroons on the verge of quenching a 36-year major tournament title thirst.
When the cheers and the loud banging of the drums from the maroon and white-clad crowd kicked in, FEU crumbled and UP exploited their newfound weapon.
The Lady Maroons complete a come-from-behind, 14-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 15-5 Game 1 win over FEU in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference best-of-three Finals series Sunday to move a within a win away from pocketing the elusive crown.
All thanks to a huge weekend turnout of UP fans.
“I was surprised. They were all cheering, the whole crowd. Everywhere I look around there were UP (fans). Where do they come from? I think from Diliman, yeah?” joked UP's Kenyan head coach Godfrey Okumu, drawing laughter frpm reporters during his postgame interview.
“But it’s great. I really admire the fans. It gives me the drive, it gives me the purpose to serve the community and the people who love the game of volleyball,” added Okumu, who can steer the Lady Maroons to their first title since ruling the UAAP in 1982 with another win on Wednesday.
While the UP crowd fueled the Lady Maroons to march on and rally to win the battle, the Lady Tams obviously got their confidence drained.
“Nawala ‘yung composure. ‘Yung big crowd ng UP doon sila na-intimidate. Medyo tumaas ‘yun intensity ng UP,” admitted FEU mentor George Pascua.
The Lady Tams looked like the same team that De La Salle University swept in the UAAP Season 80 Finals.
A squad that drowned in a sea of green was now engulfed in an ocean of maroon.
“’Yung communication bigla silang nawala, siguro sa crowd na rin kasi nangyari na sa amin ‘yan nu’ng Finals sa UAAP. Sobrang dami nu’ng crowd (ng La Salle). Malaking bagay talaga yung crowd pero sabi ko nga sa kanila hindi reason yun,” Pascua said.
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