MANILA, Philippines – An undermanned Far Eastern University (FEU) squad recovered from a slow start and eventually overpowered Lyceum of the Philippines University in four sets to clinch the last Final 4 spot in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Tamaraws, playing sans captain Bernadeth Pons, struggled early but managed to get their bearings in time to claim an 18-25, 28-26, 25-15, 25-17 win.
They closed out their elimination round campaign with a 4-1 record to finish behind unbeaten National University (5-0) in Group A. FEU also ended Ateneo de Manila University's (3-2) hopes of a playoff for the last semifinals spot.
For a while, however, it appeared as though Ateneo would live to fight another day as the Lady Pirates stunned the listless Lady Tamaraws in the opening frame.
"Talagang problema namin ang tempo, mabagal sa first set," admitted coach George Pascua afterward.
Lyceum then fought back from huge deficits in the second set to force a deuce game, but succumbed to errors in crunch time.
That enabled the Lady Tams to equalize, and they went on to impose their will in the third and fourth frames.
FEU set up a semifinals showdown against Adamson University, the top team in Group B, while NU will take on Arellano University when the Final 4 opens on Wednesday.
FEU, which was also missing Kyla Atienza, trailed, 5-16, in the opening frame and never recovered then blew its 15-5 lead in the second on mishits and erratic plays.
Back-to-back hits by Lyceum’s Christine Miralles forced a deuce at 24 but after being held to set point twice, the Lady Tams closed out the frame with back-to-back hits capped by Tony Basas’ crosscourt kill.
Lyceum finished with a 1-4 card.
Earlier, NU survived a surprisingly tough De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, 25-27, 29-27, 25-19, 16-25, 15-11, to clinch the last semifinal berth in the men’s division of the tournament.
The Bulldogs drew double-digit scores from five players with Francis Saura and Kim Malabunga leading the attack with 20 and 17 points, respectively, as NU finished tied for third with University of Santo Tomas at 4-3 at the close of the single round eliminations.
The victory also slammed the door shot on De La Salle University and San Beda College, which were hoping for an NU loss to force a playoff for the last Final Four seat.
The Red Spikers stunned the No. 2 FEU Tamaraws, 29-27, 15-25, 25-20, 22-25, 15-7, in the other match. La Salle and San Beda finished with 3-4 cards.
Ateneo took the first semis spot via sweep of the eight-team field with FEU nailing the second berth with a 5-2 mark.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.