MANILA, Philippines – For the second week in a row, Far Eastern University (FEU) skipper Bernadeth Pons has earned Player of the Week honors in the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament.
This, after Pons once again delivered for the Lady Tamaraws as they clinched the second spot and a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final 4.
As she promised last week, Pons accomplished her mission of giving the Lady Tamaraws a semis bonus for the first time since Season 71.
The 21-year-old open spiker from Negros Occidental stepped up in FEU's crucial games last week, helping her team finish the elimination round with a 10-4 win-loss record – the second-best mark in the league just behind defending champion De La Salle University (12-2).
That means FEU needs to beat third-seeded Ateneo de Manila University just once in the Final 4 in order to advance to the best-of-3 title series.
The do-it-all player delivered 13 points, 13 digs, and 13 receptions as FEU made quick work of University of the East, 25-17, 25-15, 25-20, last Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Pons then delivered 17 points and 16 receptions in FEU's 25-21, 25-22, 16-25, 25-20 triumph over National University that allowed them to secure the second seed last Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"Masaya kami na natapos namin 'yung second round, na naipanalo namin ang last three games namin," she said. "Ang pressure palagi namang nandiyan. Palagi naman naming nire-remind ang bawat isa na hindi namin siya dapat i-take as pressure, kasi lalo lang kaming mawawala sa kung ano ang dapat naming gawin."
"So china-challenge namin palagi nag sarili namin, kung ano 'yung mga dapat naming gawin, kung ano ang role namin sa team, 'yun," she added.
Pons bested La Salle's Kianna Dy and Michelle Cobb, Adamson University's graduating payers Mylene Paat and Jema Galanza, and University of the Philippines skipper Tots Carlos for the last weekly honor given by writers from broadsheets, tabloids, and websites who cover the volleyball beat.
The FEU captain also ended the season with a good chance of winning the Most Valuable Player plum, as she finished fourth in scoring (215 points), eighth in spiking (30.6%), third in digging (208 digs), and third in receiving (45.2% efficiency).
However, Pons made it clear that she is focused solely on FEU's championship pursuit.
"'Yung mga individual awards naman bonus na lang ‘yun. Ako palagi lang akong nagfofocus kung ano ‘yung dapat kong ibigay na maitutulong ko sa team, kung ano ‘yung kailangan ko maperform as a team captain and as a senior," she said. "‘Yung target naman namin is ‘yung trophy ng champion. ‘Yun ang pinakagusto naming makuha."
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