UAAP Season 81 Final Four: Lady Tams prove doubters wrong with good season run
Mark Escarlote on May 08, 2019 08:00 PM
I’m really proud of how far our team has come this season, especially since a lot of people were saying that our team wasn’t gonna make it to the Final Four -- Jerrili Malabanan
Far Eastern University may have fallen short of making it back to the Finals, but the Lady Tamaraws proved all of their doubters, wrong by achieving what many thought was impossible for a team that lost two of its best scorers heading into UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
“I’m really proud of how far our team has come this season, especially since a lot of people were saying that our team wasn’t gonna make it to the Final Four,” said graduating hitter Jerrili Malabanan, who made her final bow as a Lady Tamaraw on Wednesday.
FEU bid farewell to the season after losing to Ateneo de Manila University, 20-25, 25-21, 23-25, 14-25, in the winner-take-all match for the right to face University of Sto. Tomas in the best-of-three Finals.
“I think our team really grew and gained a lot of character over this season from our wins and our losses,” added Malabanan, who finished with 18 points highlighted by 16 attacks.
The Lady Tamaraws saw the departure of scoring ace Bernadeth Pons last year after their runner-up finish while veteran Toni Basas was sidelined by a shoulder injury during the offseason, preventing her from suiting up for FEU.
It diddn’t help that prized rookie Lycha Ebon suffered a season-ending knee injury at the start of the second round.
“’Yun nga po sobrang saya dahil nakarating po kami kung saan man kami ngayon,” said a sobbing Heather Guino-o, who in her last game with FEU delivered 12 points and 14 digs. “Kasi parang simula parang sobrang dami na nagda-doubt sa amin pero pinakita naming lahat na hindi kami basta-bastang team.”
FEU finished the elimination round with a 9-5 win-loss record, good for a fourth spot in the Final Four for a showdown with twice-to-beat Ateneo.
But despite playing short-handed, the Lady Tams pushed the Lady Eagles to the limit, taking the first semis match in five sets to force a rubber match.
“Sobrang proud ako sa narating ng team namin ngayon,” said outgoing setter Kyle Negrito. “Sobrang ipinakita ng teammates ko, ng buong team, na lumaban bawat game. Na walang alinlangan na ilaban nila para sa amin (seniors).”
Head coach George Pascua thanked his three graduating seniors for a job well done as Lady Tamaraws.
“Ako, very proud ako sa kanila umpisa pa lang nagpapa-‘thank you’ na ko sa kanila,” he said. “Team building pa lang na nadyan sila para sumupport sa team.”
“’Yung unfinished business last season gusto namin ma-achieve na unfortunately hindi namin nagawa yun,” he said. Pero siyempre, sobrang proud ako sa kanila bilang Ates ng team. They did well.”
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