MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Far Eastern University (FEU) managed to pull through even minus rookie standout Lycha Ebon.
The Lady Tamaraws rallied past the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors in a grueling five-setter, 25-15, 16-25, 12-25, 25-22, 17-15, to grab a share of 2nd place in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday, March 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ebon, the Lady Tamaraws' top scorer, sustained a knee injury during FEU's win over Adamson last weekend.
Although FEU clearly missed her scoring firepower, the Lady Tamaraws recovered just in time to sustain their winning run and forge a three-way tie at 6-3.
FEU rode on its fourth-set momentum to gain control of the final frame, but the Lady Warrior continued to threaten to close the gap, 11-13, and tie the match at 14.
Ivana Agudo – who ably filled in the void left by Ebon – put FEU at match point, 14-11. The Lady Warriors, though, refused to fold and Zilfa Olarve later hit back-to-back aces to tie the game, 14-all.
UE even clinched match point, 15-14, but the Lady Warriors committed a crucial error beore Jerrili Malabanan sealed the win with back-to-back attacks, 17-15.
Agudo made the most out of her first start of the season to lead the team with 12 points.
Heather Guino-o, Celine Domingo and Jeanette Villareal tallied 11 points each.
Although the Lady Tamaraws were motivated to win for their injured rookie, head coach George Pascua said they have to stay focused in order to perform.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila kanina after ng 4th set, it’s not about Lycha. Siyempre, ang naging motivation yung pagkawala niya. Kasi ayaw ko naman na lilitaw na matatalo yung team dahil wala siya, at naniniwala ako sa kanila, na kaya nila na mag-perform without yung isa sa mga scorer namin,” said Pascua.
(I told them in the 4th set that it’s not about Lycha. Of course, her loss was our motivation and I don’t want it to look like the team will lose just because she’s missing. I believe in them that they can perform even with one scorer down.)
UE’s Me-an Mendrez notched a career-high 22 pints off 21 attacks and 1 block. Laizah Bendong also continued her fiery start to the second round as she dished out a season-high of 42 excellent sets.
The Lady Tamaraws escaped the early deadlock with a 5-0 run for a 15-10 edge as UE collapsed with errors in the opening frame. With the Lady Warriors failing to gain their rhythm, FEU cruised to a 7-1 run to close out the set.
But the Lady Warriors bounced back to even the match as FEU committed 3 errors in 4 sequences that paved way for a six-point UE lead, 16-10.
UE continued to dominate the Lady Tamaraws in the 3rd set with a massive 10-4 run on the way to a commanding set win, 25-12, that gave them the 2–1 match advantage.
The Lady Warriors trailed in the 4th set until Olarve lifted UE to tie the score at 16-all. But another UE collapse allowed FEU to regain control and extend the match to a deciding set, 25-22. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.