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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

FEU wants to be 1st no. 4 team to make finals

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FAR Eastern University hopes to make history as the first No. 4 team in the Final Four era to reach the Finals against top-ranked National University Wednesday in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Coach Manolo Refugia, who took over the squad this year, is upbeat on the 29-time champions, as the Lady Tamaraws lock horns with the Lady Bulldogs for one final time this season at 4 p.m.

“Kung sino man ang may gusto, kung sino man ang mataas ang pinaghuhugutan, kung sino talaga ang willing na manalo,” Refugia said on the Final Four decider.

University of Santo Tomas, FEU’s fabled rival in the sport, advanced to the best-of-three Finals after outlasting De La Salle in five sets last Saturday.

The Lady Tamaraws, whose last title came in the 2007-08 season, last played in the championship round in 2018 when it lost to the Lady Spikers in two matches.

FEU hopes to pull it off this time, as in 2019, the Morayta-based squad, as the No. 4 team, dragged eventual champion Ateneo to a deciding Final Four match only to fall short of completing a reversal.

NU, which wanted so badly to advance to the title round, squandered its first chance.

The Lady Tamaraws turned to their usual reliables Chenie Tagaod and Tin Ubaldo, as well as big games from Mitzi Panangin and libero Anne Monares to upend the Lady Bulldogs, 25-23, 25-17, 25-23.

FEU was able to extend its season despite Gerzel Petallo’s two-point outing and Congo’s Faida Bakanke having trouble in getting her game going after a strong start.

Former MVP Bella Belen was at her usual best on both ends of the floor, as NU hopes that Alyssa Solomon will step up after the veteran opposite spiker struggled last Saturday.

Belen remains positive that the Lady Bulldogs will figure out what the Lady Tamaraws have done right that sent the Final Four to a do-or-die and extend their redemption tour.

“I think kailangan naming magsipag pa,” said Belen. “Hangga’t yung mindset namin, mentally and physically nandoon, hindi kami mahihirapan.”

The showdown between UST and the survivor of the FEU-NU Final Four duel will be the first Finals series that will not feature De La Salle or Ateneo since 2008, when FEU overcame Adamson University in a thrilling championship that went into the full route.

In the men’s division, the four-peat-seeking Bulldogs hope to get the job done against the third-ranked Green Spikers at noon, while the top-ranked Tamaraws and the No. 4 Golden Spikers duke it out for a place in the Finals at 2 p.m.

NU outlasted De La Salle last Saturday to claim the Final Four incentive, while UST swept FEU in last Sunday’s duel to force a do-or-die.

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
12 noon – NU vs DLSU (Men Final 4)
2 p.m. – UST vs FEU (Men Final 4)
4 p.m. – FEU vs NU (Women Final 4)

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