UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Natutong kumapit players namin -- FEU coach Diaz on win over Ateneo

Mark Escarlote on Mar 17, 2018 05:23 PM
Natutong kumapit players namin -- Tamaraws coach Diaz
Magandang blessing din kasi natututong kumapit ang mga players namin -- FEU coach Reynaldo Diaz

Far Eastern University head coach Reynaldo Diaz welcomed the Tamaraws’ five set win over three-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University as a good acid test to strengthen his wards composure and maturity.

With their three point lead late in the fifth set erased following a string of errors, the Tams were able to regroup to complete a thrilling 25-27, 25-23, 25-20, 21-25, 16-14, win Saturday in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

“Medyo siguro kulang pa kami sa push. Pero mabuti na lang, magandang blessing din kasi natututong kumapit ang mga players namin,” said Diaz, whose wards completed an elims sweep of the Blue Eagles for a 7-2 win-loss record.

FEU trailed Ateneo, 11-9, in the fifth set after Chumason Njigha scored on a quick attack. The Tams countered with a scoring barrage to move at match point, 14-11, on a Paler kill.

FEU committed three straight errors that tied the deciding frame at 14. Raymond Bautista made his relief stint count with a down the line hit before Paler finished the two-hour, 25-minute match to snap the Blue Eagles’ eight-game winning streak.

The mentor praised his wards for an amazing bounce back after a sorry five-set loss to National University the last time out.

FEU also survived four-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo’s career-game where he dropped 39 points in a 38-of-80 spiking clip.

“Ang maganda dyan nakapuntos si Espejo pero kinailangan niyang mag-work. Hindi naman ibig sabihin nun di nag-work ang depensa ng mga bata. Yun naman ang turo sa amin ni coach Kid (Santos). Pagtibayin namin ang depensa namin eh,” said Diaz. “May game plan. Ang maganda dun kahit minsan na nawawala sa sunod ang mga bata kapag pinagsabihan bumabalik naman ang game plan.”

Diaz also lauded his middles John Paul Bugaoan and Peter Quiel as well as setter Owen Suarez for utilizing their deep arsenal of hitters from Redijohn Paler, Jude Garcia and skipper Richard Solis.

Garcia and Paler had 17 markers each while Bugaoan and Solis had 15 and 13 markers, respectively, for the Tams. Quiel had six markers but played his role well as a decoy in the squad’s combination plays.  

Suarez tallied 48 excellent sets in FEU’s 65 attacks.

“Ang maganda run mayroon tayong gifted na middle, si John Paul Bugaoan and si Peter Quiel, pero ang objective naman ng team ay ma-maximize ang talent ng lahat,” said Diaz. “Siguro magaling din talaga ang setter natin and nakikita niya saan mas may advantage ang mga spikers natin.”

Sitting at solo third spot, FEU’s morale-boosting win could be the fuel it needed to remain on the right track in the race for a Final Four slot and a twice-to-beat advantage in the semis.



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