FEU creates room in Final Four seat race, downs UST
Mark Escarlote on Mar 30, 2016 04:26 PM
Far Eastern University boosts its bid to secure a Final Four spot.
Far Eastern University regrouped after yielding the opening set to tame the University of Sto. Tomas Tigresses Wednesday as the Lady Tamaraws created more breathing room in the fourth spot as the race for the last two 78th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament Final Four spot heats up at The Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Tams went off to a lethargic start and then again had a shaky opening in the fourth frame before edging the Tigresses, 20-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-20, to improve to a 7-5 win-loss record and pulling away by two games from UST.
"Sobrang happy namin, siyempre galing sa bakasyon," said FEU coach Shaq Delos Santos, whose wards are a win away from clinching a semis ticket.
The Morayta-based squad can secure at least a playoff for the last semifinals ride if University of the Philippines wins against National University in their match late afternoon Wednesday.
Either way the Lady Tams are in a favorable position to enter the Final Four.
"Yun talaga ang pinu-push namin na matanim sa utak ng mga bata, ng mga players namin. Kasi kung magbibigay pa kami ng another talo para sa team medyo mag-aalanganin ang position namin. But of course mayroon pa kamin dalawang games na dapat na ipanalo. Hangga't maaari paghiirapan namin 'yun," added Delos Santos, who wanted his team to reach the semis on their own hands instead of relying on other teams.
Bernadeth Pons and Toni Basas pummeled the Tigresses’ defense with missiles while Remy Palma and Jerrili Malabanan terrorized the net to break the morale of UST’s hitters in FEU’s second straight win.
Pons finished with 20 points from 17 spikes, a pair of aces and a kill block to lead the Lady Tams. Basas had 12 markers while Malabanan and Palma had 11 and 10, respectively.
UST’s chance of making the cut to join early qualifiers two-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle.
With a 5-7 record, the Tigresses’ bid for a Final Four spot is already out of their hands.
UST will need to win all of its remaining games against National University and University of the Philippines and rely on other teams still in contention to drop their last assignments to at least force a playoff.
Cherry Rondina finished with 17 while skipper EJ Laure and Mela Tunay got 11 markers each for the Espana-based squad, which gave away 32 points off errors.
The Tigresses missed a semis spot in the previous three seasons.
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