FEU forces knockout semis after five-set stunner over Ateneo

Far Eastern University lived to fight another day as it eke out a hard-fought 10-25, 25-23, 25-22, 12-25, 15-8, victory over Ateneo de Manila University to force a knockout semifinals match in the UAAP Season 81, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Fresh from a refreshing win over DLSU, the Lady Tamaraws displayed resiliency to erase the Lady Eagles’ twice-to-beat advantage and forged Game 2 on Wednesday for a chance to return to the Finals.

After dismal performance in sets 1 and 4, the Morayta-based spikers showed more grit and grind in the decider to finally solve the puzzle of Ateneo, who swept them in the eliminations.

Heather Guino-o led the charge with 17 points off seven kills, five aces and four blocks.

Ateneo preyed on FEU’s faulty reception for a sizzling opening set win, dropping five aces and restraining the latter to a meager one attack point.

With their net defense and passes stabilized, the Lady Tamaraws were able to activate their offense as the Lady Eagles were plagued by errors. The ladies in green-and-gold kept the fight close until the 23-point mark before a Czarina Carandang quick and a Ponggay Gaston error sealed the set for them.

It was a back-and-forth affair after the Lady Eagles squandered a 10-5 advantage while their opponents’ service game came into play. Down by five, Ateneo attempted for a comeback off Kat Tolentino’s heroics before Deanna Wong’s service error handed the set to FEU.

The blue-and-white hitters regained their dominant form in the fourth as they gunned for a 23-11 lead and never looked back.

Unlike their first round encounter, FEU proved to be the better team, going for a 7-1 run to chalk a match point before an error from the Ateneo side sealed the extension.

Tolentino talllied 21 points while Bea de Leon had 16 on a losing effort for the Lady Eagles.


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