UAAP Season 81: Suarez plays clutch as FEU takes solo lead
Mark Escarlote on Feb 24, 2019 02:08 PM
Far Eastern University preserved its perfect record as the Tamaraws extended their winning streak to three.
Fourth year setter Owen Suarez played clutch in the closing stretch of the game in unbeaten Far Eastern University’s thrilling, 20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 20-25, 16-14, win Sunday over Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The playmaker showed ice in his veins, landing two cold-blooded drop balls before saving a broken play in the extended fifth frame to punctuate his heroic performance as the Tamaraws kept a clean slate after three games for the hold of the solo lead.
“Matibay talaga ang Ateneo, nandoon pa rin ang heart nila kasi galing sila sa championship. So magandang gift sa amin ni God ito, na kailangang mas tumibay pa kami kung may gusto kaming marating ngayong season,” said FEU coach Rei Diaz after the Tams exacted revenge over their last year’s Final Four tormentors.
Suarez tallied 37 excellent sets, scored three points - two coming in the fifth set – and 10 digs, for the Tams. Jude Garcia finished with 23 points with 19 coming off spikes while Redi John Paler had 19 markers for FEU.
Skipper Richard Solis and JP Bugaoan posted 12 points each for the Tams.
FEU erased a 10-12 deficit in the fifth set with a three-point burst to take a 13-12 lead. Tony Koyfman answered for Ateneo before Suarez scored on a drop ball to put the Tams at match point.
Koyfman saved a match point before Suarez hit another drop ball for FEU’s second match point advantage.
Suarez dove for the ball in a broken play in the next sequence before Garcia set up Solis for the game clinching kill.
The Blue Eagles, who suffered its second straight defeat, blasted a 10-5 blitz to break a 15-15 deadlock in the fourth set and force a decider.
Ron Medalla and Chumason Njigha finished with 19 points each while John Rivera and Koyfman posted 18 and 15 markers, respectively, for Ateneo, which slid to 1-2 slate.
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