Far Eastern University (FEU) and National University (NU) will be battling for the last finals slot in the rubber match of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s volleyball stepladder semifinals today at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Tamaraws-Bulldogs game begins at 2 p.m.
The winner will advance to the best-of-three championship showdown against reigning champion Ateneo de Manila University.
The Blue Eagles automatically earned a spot in the finals after completing a 14-0 sweep of the eliminations.
FEU stayed alive following its 22-25, 26-24, 28-26, 25-17 victory over erstwhile twice-to-beat NU.
Powerhitting Jude Garcia and Richard Solis led the charge of the Tamaraws but other players such as veteran middle hitter Greg Dolor and graduating playmaker Ronchette Villegas also made big contributions.
Garcia nailed 16 points on 11 attacks, three blocks and two aces while Solid had 13 kills and a couple of blocks.
Dolor displayed an all-around game, finishing with 11 hits, two aces and a block, and Villegas scored 44 excellent sets.
“We have to play smart volleyball. We need to give our best to make it to the finals,” said FEU head coach Rey Diaz.
The Bulldogs, however, are expected to go all-out as they aim to clinch their fifth straight finals appearance.
Bryan Bagunas collected 13 points, and Madzlan Gampong and James Natividad chipped in 10 markers each in their last game. But it wasn’t good enough to tow the Bulldogs to victory after committing 37 errors.
Fauzi Ismail and Francis Saura, who were limited to a combined 13-point output, must also deliver along with libero Ricky Marcos and setter Kim Dayandante.
The Game 1 of the finals is set on Saturday.
EMIL C. NOGUERA