UAAP Season 81 Final Four: Tams end 6-year Finals drought
Mark Escarlote on May 04, 2019 04:28 PM
Far Eastern University is through to the Finals.
Far Eastern University came back from a set down to clinch the first championship berth after booting out Ateneo de Manila University, 21-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22, on Saturday in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball Final Four at the MOA Arena.
The No. 2 seed and twice-to-beat Tamaraws made their return to the Finals after six years while ending the Blue Eagles’ five straight Finals appearances as FEU exacted revenge against the same squad that showed them the exit door in the semis last year.
The veteran troika of Jude Garcia, Richard Solis and JP Bugaoan led the way for the Morayta-based squad, which will face the winner of the other semis pairing between defending champion National University and Adamson University.
Garcia scored 14 points with 12 coming off attacks and added 13 digs while Bugaoan finished with 13 markers built on 10 attacks amd three kill blocks for the Tams, who got 37 free points off Ateneo's errors. Solis got 12 points while Redijohn Paler and Peter Quiel added nine markers each for FEU.
The Tams struggled in the opening frame before finding their groove to get back in the Finals after a runner-up finish in Season 75.
"Kailangan lang talaga kontrolin 'yung emotions eh. Kailangan naming i-handle ang emotions namin, kailangan kontrolin, kailangan ibalik ang timing," said FEU coach Rei Diaz. "'Yung maturity na bitbit nila saka dala-dala ang puso nila, yun lang naman ang kailangan namin."
The Tams came back from 0-5 down in the third set to take a 2-1 match lead. FEU then opened up a 15-9 gap in the fourth frame only to see Ateneo breathe down its neck, 23-21, after a John Rivera kill.
Garcia pushed FEU at match point before Tony Koyfman saved a point for the Blue Eagles. Garcia ended the match with a powerful kill that went off the arms of Ateneo libero Manuel Sumanguid.
Koyfman finished his collegiate career with 21 points with all but one coming off attacks while graduating hitter Rivera scored 15 points with 19 excellent receptions and 11 digs for the Blue Eagles. Chumason Njigha and Ron Medalla got 11 and 10, respectively, for Ateneo.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles