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HomeSportNU, FEU battle for last UAAP women's Finals slot

NU, FEU battle for last UAAP women’s Finals slot

Gerzel Petallo and Alyssa Solomon-08May2024MARLO CUETO/

Gerzel Petallo and Alyssa Solomon–MARLO CUETO/

The Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, when asked what motivates them to prove doubters wrong in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament Final Four, said nothing about looking to add to their vast collection of championships.

“We are super eager to enter the Finals. Season 84 was our inspiration to get here,’’ said ace setter Tin Ubaldo after they reduced their semifinal clash opposite National University to a rubber match not many believed was necessary after the Lady Bulldogs came into the round on a rampaging seven-game streak.

The Lady Tamaraws, though, have all the mental edge on their side going into the 4 p.m. game at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday after dumping the top-ranked Lady Bulldogs in straight sets last Saturday. The winner advances to face University of Santo Tomas in a best-of-three title series starting on Sunday.

While the Far Eastern-National U series will go the distance, Santo Tomas last Sunday dethroned the La Salle Lady Spikers in one pulsating game in their side of the Final Four, as the Lady Tigresses returned to the championship series after five years while seeking to win their first title in 14 seasons.

Winding up dead last in Season 84 is what Ubaldo is talking about, for it was a campaign that could easily be the worst finish for the Lady Tamaraws in their rich UAAP history.

“Looking back, we won’t let that happen again,’’ said Ubaldo, whose 16 excellent sets aided an unexpectedly short 25-23, 25-17, 25-23 conquest of the Lady Bulldogs, a team they haven’t beaten for six straight games dating back to 2022.

Hitters Chenie Tagaod and Faida Bakanke will be the main offensive options for Ubaldo, with Gerzel Petallo, Alyzza Devosora and middle blocker Jean Asis as well as Mitzi Panangin to play big roles as the Lady Tams seek to win it all again for the first time since 2008.

“I don’t want to feel that down again. But it’s not over yet, we need to be at 100 percent as we go all out [in the rubber match],’’ said Tagaod.

But the Lady Bulldogs are not the type to succumb in the face of tragedy.

They swept their way in the second round with their confidence going sky-high only to come crashing back to Mother Earth with that Saturday thumping.

Offensive trio

Aiming for a third straight championship appearance and a second crown, the National U offensive trio of Bella Belen, Alyssa Solomon and Vangie Alinsug should make amends after the Lady Bulldogs came out flat in the series opener and never really recovered.

Setter Camilla Lamina and veteran Sheena Toring as well as middle blockers Erin Pangilinan and Chams Maaya are also expected to step up of National is even thinking of making this one close.

“We really wanted this. Our team believed that we could beat them,” Far Eastern coach Manolo Refugia said. “We were considered gatecrashers, but now we’ve become serious title contenders.’’

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Far Eastern has a total of 29 championships and nobody will be surprised anymore if they seize the opportunity to jack that count up. INQ

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