UAAP: FEU bucks injuries to outlast Adamson in 5-set war

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2019 04:58 PM | Updated as of Mar 24 2019 05:43 PM

UAAP: FEU bucks injuries to outlast Adamson in 5-set war 1
Czarina Carandang (14) stepped up in place of the injured Jeanette Villareal. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Far Eastern University (FEU) survived injuries to two key players, and did enough in the end game to battle past Adamson University in a five-set war on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The Lady Tamaraws lost Jeanette Villareal in the first set and Lycha Ebon in the fifth, but still pulled out a 30-32, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 15-13 triumph over the Lady Falcons.

It was their fifth victory of the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament, against three defeats. The Lady Tamaraws earned a share of fourth place, along with idle University of Santo Tomas.

Meanwhile, the Lady Falcons lost their fourth straight match despite a truly brave effort, and dropped to 1-7 in the tournament.

"'Yung Adamson kasi matibay din naman. Lahat naman ng teams eh. Sabi ko nga sa mga players ko kanina, ang labanan ngayong second round, patibayan na lang 'yan," said FEU coach George Pascua, after his team rebounded from a loss to De La Salle University to end the first round.

The first set provided a glimpse of how intense the match would be, as the Lady Falcons clawed their way out of a 9-15 hole and dragged the Lady Tamaraws to an extended affair. FEU was at set point, 24-23, when Jerrili Malabanan committed an error, and the two teams traded blows from there.

FEU lost Villareal to an ankle injury with the set tied at 26, but they still reached set point twice, at 28-27 and 29-28, only for the Lady Falcons to force deuce each time. Adamson reached set point at 30-29, after the Lady Tamaraws were called for four touches, but Ebon's crosscourt kill knotted the count at 30. Unfortunately, the rookie commited back-to-back attack errors, giving Adamson the hard-earned win in Set 1 after 30 long minutes.

The two squads alternated victories in Sets 2 and 3, with the Lady Falcons holding off the Lady Tamaraws in a thrilling third frame to move on the cusp of an upset win. But FEU stayed alive in the fourth frame as they thoroughly flustered Adamson's offense, holding the Lady Falcons to just four kills in the entire set. Only the 11 unforced errors by FEU kept Adamson afloat. Ironically, it was an error by Adamson -- a mishit by Bern Flora -- that sent the match to a decider.

Disaster struck once more for FEU in the fifth set, as Ebon suffered an awkward fall after scoring past Adamson's Flora. The rookie was clearly in pain, and had to be stretchered out of the court.

Despite losing their top scorer, FEU still zoomed to an 11-6 advantage in Set 5, thanks in part to the contributions of reserve Ivan Agudo who was subbed in for Ebon. The Lady Falcons showed no quit, however, and managed to force an 11-all deadlock, thanks to a blistering 5-0 blast that was capped by a clever swipe by setter MJ Igao against Malabanan.

Unfortunately, the Lady Falcons sapped their own momentum when Hannah Infante committed a service error, and they then gave up an ace to Carly Hernandez. A net violation by Kyle Negrito and a kill by Flora allowed Adamson to force a tie for the last time, 13-all.

Malabanan came up clutch, firing a hit to zone 6, before Celine Domingo pounced on an over-received ball to finish off the match in two hours and 31 minutes.

"Good na nanalo, pero bad na (na-injure) 'yung mga players ko," said Pascua. "Hopefully hindi ganoon ka-severe 'yung mga injury nila. Sana makabalik sila sa next game namin."

Pascua was glad to see his players step up in place of the injured starters, with Czarina Carandang holding down the fort for Villareal while both Agudo and Malabanan came through with clutch hits in place of Ebon.

"Sabi ko nga sa mga players, kailangan kung wala 'yung isa, kailangan andoon pa rin sila. Kumbaga maglalaro sila dahil gusto nila na tulungan 'yung kasama nila, hindi 'yung nawala na, tapos mawawala pa," he said.

"Buti na lang kahit papaano, na-handle namin 'yung situation," he added.

Ebon still top-scored for FEU with 19 points on 16 kills and 2 blocks, while Heather Guino-o added 14 markers. Malabanan bounced back from a benching in the third set to finish with 8 points. The Lady Tamaraws had 60 attacks and 10 aces, with Negrito alone accounting for six points from the service line.

Meanwhile, it was a sorry loss for the Lady Falcons, who were unable to ride the momentum of their wins in the first and third frames. Eli Soyud led the team with 17 points, while Chiara Permentilla and JOy Dacoron tallied 15 points each. Flora contributed 11 markers for the Lady Falcons, who gave away 42 free points off their errors.

In a battle of liberos, FEU's Buding Duremdes was credited with 13 receptions and 37 digs, while Adamson's Thang Ponce had 17 receptions and 21 digs.

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