UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU out to dethrone Ateneo
Mark Escarlote on Apr 21, 2018 07:51 AM
Twice-to-beat Far Eastern University sets its attention on making a return trip to the Finals.
Far Eastern University head coach Rey Diaz does not want the Tamaraws’ golden opportunity to advance in championship round for the first time in five years slip away.
Armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, the Tams look to drag the three-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University off the throne on Saturday in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball Final Four at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Game time is at 2:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA on SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD on SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.
FEU finished the elimination round tied with National University with 12-2 win-loss slate. The Bulldogs took the no. 1 seed via higher tiebreak.
The Tams for the first time since Season 75 landed at the top two with a semis incentive. They will face a team that they swept in two meetings in the elimination round.
“Kailangan na lang naming magtiwala sa isa’t isa,” said Diaz, whose squad finished the elims with a six-game winning streak capped by a four-set victory over De La Salle University last week.
“Sabi ko sa mga bata minsan lang dumating ito pahalagahan namin. Kung ibininigay namin ang 100% namin sa elimination ngayon ibibigay naman namin ang 200% sa Final Four,” he added.
FEU dominated the Blue Eagles to open the season, 25-18, 25-19, 25-22, before carving out a thrilling 25-27, 25-23, 25-20, 21-25, 16-14, win in their elims rematch.
But Diaz is wary of Ateneo’s tenacity and intensity behind graduating four-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo.
The Blue Eagles, who closed the elims with an 11-3 card after dropping a crucial match against NU in four sets, are even more dangerous with their backs against the wall.
“Hindi natin masasabi kasi nagti-training din ang Ateneo saka experience-wise mas lamang sila pagdating sa Final Four,” he said.
Diaz will bank on his old reliables JP Bugaoan, Jude Garcia, Redijon Paler and Richard Solis to lead FEU back in the Finals against the survivor between the Bulldogs and University of Sto. Tomas.
A rubbermatch, if needed, is on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
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