MANILA, Philippines - Far Eastern U stunned National U with a gritty stand in the first two sets then proved steadier in the third to complete a surprising 26-24, 26-24, 25-22 victory and move a win from scoring a breakthrough victory in the Shakey’s V-League at The Arena in San Juan.
Rachel Ann Daquis dished out another vintage performance after firing 26 hits in powering FEU past Adamson in their sudden death duel for the second finals berth, blasting away 19 points, including five service aces and three blocks, as the gutsy Lady Tams took a step closer to finally ending their long search for a championship since joining the country’s premier women’s volley league as one of the pioneers in 2004.
“The team played inspired volleyball and they showed toughness out there,” said FEU coach Shaq delos Santos in Pilipino after steering the Lady Tams to the shock win over the fancied defending champions in the opener of their best-of-three series. FEU goes for the clincher on Sunday. A decider, if necessary, will be played on June 1.
Earlier, Adamson outhit UST and fashioned out a 25-17, 25-23, 18-25, 25-19 win in their own best-of-three series for third in the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s and backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil.
Meanwhile, Dindin Santiago led the conference awardees after emerging the MVP and Best Server. Other top individual performers were Adamson’s Bang Pineda (Most Improved) and Pau Soriano (Best Attacker), FEU’s Christine Agno (Best Receiver) and Yna Papa (Best Setter) and UST’s Marivic Meneses (Best Blocker) and Laure (Best Scorer). All awardess received gift checks from Lion Tiger Aerosol Spray.
Coming into the series the overwhelming favorites after sweeping past the Tigresses in the semis, the Lady Bulldogs proved to be a big letdown after blowing leads in all three sets, including a massive 8-1 bulge in the third set.
It didn’t help that the usually dominant six-footer Santiago sisters Dindin and Jaja were held to just a combined 21 hits when they averaged more going into the finale.
Suddenly, the low-profile Lady Tams have now become the favorites.
Thanks to the comely Daquis and a brave bunch of players who mightily fought back after trailing majority of the way, including in the third frame.