Learning from history: FEU overpowers Ateneo, ends six-year finals drought

Sweet redemption.

After failing to enter last year’s championship round, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws finally sought success after overpowering the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles in four sets, 21-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22, earlier in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

After dropping the first set against an offensive-minded Ateneo team, the Tamaraws showed character as they pulled through in the next three sets.

Seniors Jude Garcia, JP Bugaoan, and Richard Solis took charge for the Tamaraws as they finished with 14, 13, and 12 points respectively.

With the win, the FEU men’s volleyball team goes back to the finals, a feat they last achieved back in Season 75 where they finished as runner-up to current defending champions National University (NU) Bulldogs.

Holding a twice-to-beat advantage this season, Bugaoan said FEU was determined not to let history repeat itself anew.

Last season, the Tamaraws also garnered a twice-to-beat advantage as they finished second after the elimination round, facing the Blue Eagles in the semifinals.

However, they saw heartbreak as they were defeated twice by Ateneo, led by the senior duo of Ish Polvorosa and Marck Espejo, the latter of whom registered a league record of 55 points in their first semifinal game.

This season, the Tamaraws did everything to assure the same thing wouldn’t happen again.

“Gusto po naming hindi na maulit ‘yung nangyari sa nakaraan. Trinabaho lang ng bawat isa para hindi mabalik ‘yung history na natalo kami last season. Ibang istorya ‘to–Season 81 ‘to,” Bugaoan said.

Head coach Rey Diaz said the Tamaraws need to keep their emotions in check and show maturity in order to gain success in the championship round.

“Kailangan lang talagang kontrolin ‘yung emotions namin. Iyong maliliit na bagay, iyon pa kasi ‘yung nagiging malaking problema e. Kailangan lang naming mahandle ‘yung bawat situation with maturity,” Diaz said.

But for now, the Tamaraws will soak in the moment before showing up in the championship round with one thing in mind: getting the title.

“Masarap sa feeling, kasi bumalik ulit ‘yung FEU sa finals. Hindi kami titigil hangga’t hindi namin nakukuha ‘yung malaking trophy,” Bugaoan said.

The Tamaraws are now waiting for their title foes to be decided in the semifinal round between top-ranked NU Bulldogs and fourth seed Adamson University Soaring Falcons.

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