Far Eastern U bucked an early struggle and Lyceum of the Philippines U’s gutsy stand as it rallied to pound out an 18-25, 28-26, 25-15, 25-17 victory and clinch the last semifinal berth in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan yesterday.
The Lady Tams thus closed out their elims campaign with a 4-1 card and finished behind the unbeaten Group A topnotcher National U Lady Bulldogs (5-0) while ending the Ateneo Lady Eagles’ (3-2) hopes for a playoff for the other Final Four seat.
But for a while, Ateneo had looked to have a chance as Lyceum came out smoking and stunned a listless FEU side in the opening frame. The Lady Pirates then fought back from huge deficits in the second to force a deuce game, only to yield with late miscues.
That enabled the Lady Tams to equalize and the Morayta-based squad re-grouped and imposed their will and strength to cruise to victories in the next two and into the semis against Group B topnotcher Adamson.
NU will tangle with Group B No. 2 Arellano U at the start of the best-of-three semifinals in the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision starting tomorrow.
FEU, which played without top hitter Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienca, trailed, 5-16, in the opening frame and never recovered then blew its 15-5 lead in the second on mishits and erratic plays.
Back-to-back hits by LPU’s Christine Miralles forced a deuce at 24 but after being held to set point twice, the Lady Tams closed out the frame with back-to-back hits capped by Tony Basas’ crosscourt kill.
Lyceum wound up with a 1-4 card.
Earlier, National U survived a surprisingly tough St. Benilde, 25-27, 29-27, 25-19, 16-25, 15-11, to clinch the last semifinal berth in the men’s division of the tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics.
The Bulldogs drew double-digit scores from five players with Francis Saura and Kim Malabunga leading the attack with 20 and 17 points, respectively, as NU finished tied for third with UST at 4-3 at the close of the single round elims.
The victory also slammed the door shot on La Salle and San Beda, which were hoping for an NU loss to force a playoff for the last Final Four seat.
The Red Spikers stunned the No. 2 Far Eastern U Tams, 29-27, 15-25, 25-20, 22-25, 15-7, in the other match. La Salle and San Beda wound up with 3-4 cards.
Ateneo took the first semis spot via sweep of the eight-team field with FEU nailing the second berth with a 5-2 mark.