MANILA, Philippines - Far Eastern U braces for a mighty National U comeback but remains upbeat of its chances for a repeat and a first-ever Shakey’s V-League title when Game Two of the best-of-three series for the Season II First Conference crown is played Sunday at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Tams showed remarkable endgame poise to shock the fancied Lady Bulldogs, 26-24, 26-24, 25-22, in the series’ opener last Sunday, moving in the threshold of a breakthrough victory in the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
One of the six pioneers of the country’s premier women’s volley league, FEU finished no higher than third in Season 6 in 2009, relegated almost to the background each conference of each season until it struck back from a sorry five-set loss and swept the next two games in their semis duel with Adamson to gain a crack at the crown for the very first time.
Thanks to Rachel Ann Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga, who came in at the right time and provided the firepower, the spunk and the poise for the Lady Tams, now one win away from quenching a long thirst for a championship since 2004.
But it was not all offense for FEU as the Lady Tams showed their awesome defensive prowess by holding the vaunted Santiago sisters – Dindin and Jaja – to a combined 21-hit output in Game One.
“The girls played inspired volleyball and they showed toughness all throughout,” said FEU coach Shaq delos Santos in Pilipino after steering the Lady Tams to the stunning straight win over the highly favored defending champions.
Daquis, who unloaded 26 hits in powering FEU past Adamson in their sudden death duel for the second finals berth, continued to dish out top form, firing 19 pints, including five service aces while coming through with three blocks.
The comely spiker, voted as one of the 10 most popular players in the league’s milestone 10th season last year, is expected to raise her game a notch higher on Sunday, along with Gonzaga, Bernadette Pons, Mary Joy Palma, Yna Papa, Christine Agno and Joan Dionela.
Game Two of the finals set at 4 p.m. will be shown live on GMA News TV Channel, according to the organizing Sports Vision, with Adamson likewise trying to wrap up its own best-of-three series for third with UST at 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, NU’s Dindin Santiago racked up two awards in the season-opening conference of the league backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil, winning another MVP and Best Server plums although she would rather prefer to bring home a second straight championship and foil FEU’s date with history.
Other top individual performers were Adamson’s Bang Pineda (Most Improved) and Pau Soriano (Attacker), FEU’s Christine Agno (Reciever) and Yna Papa (Setter) and UST’s Marivic Meneses (Blocker) and Laure (Scorer). All awardess received gift checks from Lion Tiger Aerosol Spray.