MANILA, Philippines – The FEU Lady Tamaraws proved to be the queens of the long game this season after netting their seventh win in 8 five-setter games.
And again, graduating star Heather Guino-o made sure that her teammates were prepared for everything the No. 1 Ateneo Lady Eagles throw at them in the Final Four of the UAAP women's volleyball tournament.
“Kahapon pa lang iniisip na namin na hindi kami papayag na huli na naming laro ito,” said Guino-o. “Hindi pwedeng huli na namin silang makakasamang maglaro.”
(Yesterday, we were just thinking that we wouldn’t allow this to be our last game. I can’t allow this to be the last time we would play together.)
After just one set, it looked like the Lady Eagles were hell-bent on booking a return ticket to the finals.
However, after taking a 10-25 opening beatdown, the Lady Tamaraws rallied hard and took the succeeding sets in grueling fashion against the twice-to-beat Lady Eagles.
Although FEU ate up another 12-25 blitz in the 4th set, they just wouldn’t give up and seized the payoff frame on an 8-1 closeout run to force a do-or-die for the championship berth on Wednesday, May 8. (READ: FEU stuns No. 1 Ateneo, forces do-or-die for UAAP title berth)
That’s all thanks to the leadership of Guino-o, who dropped 17 points off 8 attacks, 5 aces and 4 blocks in the season-saving win on Saturday, May 4 at the packed Mall of Asia Arena.
“Sobrang saya sa pakiramdam kasi dito namin malalaman eh kung last na namin ito o magtutuluy-tuloy pa kami,” she said in the post-game presser. “Pero pinatunayan namin na hindi pa po kami tapos.”
(It feels great because here’s where we learned if this is our last game or if we’ll go on. But we proved that we’re not done yet.)
Indeed, her teammates responded to her call as fourth-year libero Buding Duremdes laid it all on the line with 44 excellent digs. Fellow graduating hitter Jer Malabanan had 8 points in the win while fourth-year middle blocker Net Villareal dropped 10.
Heading into Wednesday’s do-or-die, last season’s finalists still have to beat the Lady Eagles one more time to keep their finals streak alive. But for FEU, that’s something they’ll worry about for another day.
“Sobrang saya po, sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam na na-extend pa,” Guino-o closed.
(I’m so happy, it feels really great to extend the series.) – Rappler.com