By Ricky Manliguis
SAN JUAN—Far Eastern University set foot on a Final Four berth with an emphatic 25-16, 25-16, 27-25 win over University of the Philippines in Wednesday’s main game of the UAAP LXXIX women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
With its tournament lives at stake, the Morayta-based squad breezed in the first two sets before overcoming a stubborn UP stand in the third to finish its elimination round campaign at 8-6 and march into the next round for the third consecutive season.
FEU had a relatively easy start, including a 10-0 scoring spurt to turn a 4-7 deficit into a 14-7 advantage in the second frame.
It was then a back-and-forth third set, with UP overcoming three match points to tie the count at 24-all. FEU regained the lead, 25-24, on an Arielle Estranero service error, but Nicole Tiamzon answered back with a hit for a 25-all stand-off.
That proved to be the Katipunan-based team's last hurrah, as Tiamzon committed two net infractions to end the one hour, 18 minute affair.
Bernadeth Pons and Chinchin Basas took turns punishing the UP defense as the duo scored 12 points apiece in a combined 22-attack effort. Heather Guino-O had a hand on half of the team's 12 service aces to finish with 11.
Team captain Remy Palma made a brilliant effort on the defensive side, scoring five kill blocks for 10 markers.
The Lady Tams will have to wait for the result of the NU-UST tussle on Saturday to determine its place in the Final Four. It will go as high as #3 if the Lady Bulldogs beat the Golden Tigresses, or could go to #4 if UST prevails.
It was a sorry exit for State U despite starting the season with a 4-0 record. Diana Carlos paced the team with 13 points on 11 kills, while Isa Molde cashed in eight.
Graduating players Tiamzon and Kathy Bersola finished with eight and seven markers, respectively, in their final UAAP game.