Tams force sudden death in last stepladder semifinals phase
Mark Escarlote on Apr 23, 2017 03:23 PM
Far Eastern University lives to fight another day.
Far Eastern University showed grit, coming back from a set down to force a do-or-die match in the 79th UAAP men’s volleyball stepladder semifinals with a 22-25, 26-24, 28-26, 25-17, win over the twice-to-beat National University Sunday at the MOA Arena.
Winless against the Bulldogs coming into the semis, the Tamaraws relied on their great team effort to survive and fight another day.
The sudden death is on Wednesday where the winner will get the last seat in the best-of-three Finals against the three-peat seeking and undefeated Ateneo de Manila.
FEU, which came off a straight sets win against University of Sto. Tomas in the first phase of the stepladder semis, had a shaky start but regrouped just in time to pull off an upset.
The Morayta-based squad kept its composure in the second and third sets as they staved off NU’ repeated comeback attempt.
FEU head coach Rey Diaz pointed out that they can’t take NU head on with the Bulldogs capitalizing on their height advantage. They negated that by playing smart volleyball, executing fine combination plays and by keeping NU’s defense guessing with good ball distribution by graduating setter Ronchette Villegas.
“Noong first set medyo gigil at tensyonado. Hindi namin sila kaya sa matataas na bola,” he said. “Sabi ko sa mga bata, huwag lang tayo maglaro ng volleyball, maglaro tayo ng smart volleyball.”
Villegas led FEU’s superb offensive flow with 44 excellent sets that the Tams turned into 47 vicious attacks.
Jude Garcia finished with 16 points coming off 11 attacks, three kill blocks and a pair of aces. Team captain Richard Solis scored 15 points anchored on 13 kills while Greg Dolor and Redijohn Paler had 14 and 10 markers, respectively, for the Tams, who took the win despite giving away 39 points of their errors.
FEU squandered a set point advantage, 24-22, as NU extended the second set before the Tams sealed the equalizer with an error by Fauzi Ismail followed by an ace by Paler.
The Tams again needed three set points to silence NU.
Smelling blood, FEU controlled the fourth set early to take the fight out of the Bulldogs, whi for the second straight season dropped the opening game of the semis while armed with a twice-to-beat.
NU dropped its second straight game after a straight sets loss to Ateneo to end the elims.
Bryan Bagunas scored 13 points while Madzlan Gampong and James Natividad finished with 10 each for the Bulldogs, who gave away 37 points off errors.
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