Far Eastern U squandered a two-set lead but toughened up on defense in the decider to carve out a 25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 15-9 decision over University of the Philippines and move a win from clinching third place honors in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference before a big Monday crowd at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
Heather Guino-o fired away 23 hits, including 19 attack points, while Toni Rose Basas unleashed a 21-hit game as the Lady Tams withstood the Lady Maroons’ spirited fightback to take the opener of their best-of-three series that took one hour and 57 minutes to finish.
FEU, the top-seeded team which lost to No. 4 Ateneo in the Final Four of the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s, actually appeared headed for a quick end after outlasting UP in the first two sets. But the Lady Maroons refused to crack up and fought back in the next two to force a decider.
The Lady Tams regrouped in the end, wresting control early in the fifth, 6-3, then frustrating their rivals, who forced a 6-6 count behind Isa Molde, by winning the next four points, highlighted by back-to-back blocks after the technical timeout for a 10-6 cushion.
UP, this time behind Nicole Tiamzon, did strike back with three straight hits but FEU took the next five points on a running attack, an off-the-block hit and another Guino-o spike and another spike before nailing the hard-earned victory on a strong Tiamzon spike that sailed long.
FEU goes for the clincher in Game Two of their playoff, backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter, at 4 p.m. tomorrow, also at Philsports, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
Mary Joy Palma added 15 hits while Celine Domingo stepped up to fire 10 points for the Lady Tams, who prevailed in all scoring duels, spikes (55-49), blocks (9-8) and serves (12-10).
Kyle Negrito chipped in five hits for FEU while dishing out 50 excellent sets, 13 more than counterpart Mae Basarte. But the Lady Maroons proved better in handing their rivals’ attacks, coming up with 85 excellent digs as against FEU’s 68.
Tiamzon finished with 19 points while Molde had 16 and Diana Carlos added 15 markers for UP, which last threatened at 9-10 on back-to-back Tiamzon’s attacks.
4 p.m. – UP vs FEU (SVL for 3rd)
6 p.m. – Ateneo vs NU
(V League for crown)