MANILA, Philippines – The Far Eastern University Tamaraws drew first blood in the UAAP Season 82 men's volleyball tournament as they eyed redemption after falling short of the title last season.
The Tamaraws held off University of the East, 25-10, 25-22, 25-23, in the season opener on Tuesday, March 3, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
"Magandang opportunity na grinab naman ng team. Kaya naman kami nagpunta dito to get the game, so the team is so blessed na nakuha namin ang game (The team grabbed a good opportunity. We came here to get the game, so the team is blessed to have won this game)," FEU head coach Rei Diaz said.
Last year's finalist sprinted out of the gates, dictating the tempo early. But the Tamaraws committed a total of 15 errors in the 2nd set and allowed the Red Warriors to pick up steam and stay in thick of the fight.
Facing a rough patch late in the decisive third frame after trailing 21-23, FEU relied on the scoring exploits of JJ Javelona. The league's Season 81 Juniors MVP went on a scoring binge, uncorking 4 consecutive hits to close out the match.
"Magaling 'yung UE nag-adjust sila. Medyo matagal kami naka-adapt and nag-adjust, so magandang lesson para sa team," Diaz added. "'Yun naman 'yung system na meron tayo e. Kailangan manalo o matalo, ang mahalaga natututunan tayo. Magandang opportunity 'yun na malagay sa ganoong sitwasyon para may matutunan pa rin."
(UE was able to adjust. It took a while for us to adapt and adjust, so it's a good lesson for the team. That's the system that we have. Win or lose, what's important is that we are able to learn something. It's a good opportunity to be placed in that situation so that we'll still be able to learn something from it.)
Javelona, a rookie out of FEU's high school program, spearheaded the charge with 11 points. Peter Quiel and Jude Garcia provided ample support with 10 and 9 markers, respectively.
Meanwhile, JP Bugaoan and Mark Calado made their presence felt above the net with 4 and 3 blocks apiece, fortifying FEU's wall which outperformed UE, 11-5. The two finished with 8 points each.
FEU setter Owen Suarez tossed 15 excellent sets, powering the Tamaraws in the attacking department, 37-28.
UE, for its part, was led by Kenneth Culabat and Lloyd Josafat with 11 and 10 markers, respectively. – Rappler.com