Toni Rose Bases scores off Ateneo in the women's volleyball action of UAAP Season 80. FEU won to book the first finals berth. (Francesca Nicole Collantes/ Dugout Philippines)
PASAY CITY—At last, Far Eastern U is back in the finals.
Behind a solid defensive game, the Lady Tamaraws dispatched the Ateneo Lady Eagles, 25-20, 25-21, 14-25, 25-19, in Saturday action of the women’s volleyball competitions of the UAAP Season 80 at the Mall Of Asia Arena.
FEU raced to an early 2-0 sets lead, fell in the third, but recovered in the fourth against with its menacing net and floor defense over a hard-hitting Ateneo side to book its ticket to the championship round for the first time in nearly a decade, in Season 71.
Ateneo actually had a chance to extend the match into a deciding fifth set, even leading 11-9 on Bernadeth Pons’ net infraction. FEU then retaliated for a 24-16 cushion behind Pons.
Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag kept Ateneo in the fight to trim the gap to 24-19, but it went for naught as Kyle Negrito folied a Jhoan Maraguinot attack for the final count.
Pons led the charge with 17 points spiked on 15 hits and 16 excellent digs. Toni Rose Bases also had 17 markers on 12 kills for FEU, which dominated the attacks (40-35), blocks (13-6), and service aces departments (10-3).
"Pinaghirapan namin 'yun, pinlano namin talaga, nag-usap-usap kaming mga players, ang dami naming sinakripisyo para makarating dito," said FEU coach George Pascua, already guiding his team to the finals in his first year as mentor.
“[Dahil], ten years na medyo isang dekada na wala sa Final ang FEU,”he added.
Tolentino and Maraguinot each tallied 11 markers for Ateneo, which failed in its bid for a seventh straight finals appearance.
Immediately after the match, Coach Tai Bundit announced his resignation as Ateneo head coach.