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Lady Tams foil Pirates, clinch last semis berth

FEU’s Marie Agudo unleashes a hit against Rocelyn Hongria of Lyceum during their PVL Collegiate Conference duel at the Filoil Flying V Center. JUN MENDOZA            

MANILA, Philippines — Far Eastern University overcame a sluggish start as it repulsed ousted Lyceum, 18-25, 28-26, 25-15, 25-17, to complete the Final Four cast in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan last night.

The Lady Tamaraws, missing the services of ace hitter Bernadeth Pons for the second straight game, were outgunned by the Lady Pirates in the first set then squandered a huge 10-point lead in the second before beating LPU from the service box in the third frame and dominating the net in the fourth to advance to the next round.

“That is our problem, we struggle with our tempo at the start of the match. I expected it to be a close contest since it’s a non-bearing match for LPU whereas the pressure is on us because this is our turning point for the semis to avoid a playoff,” said FEU coach George Pascua.

The Lady Tams delivered seven aces in the third and made half of their total 10 blocks in the fourth set to finish the single round elims of the season-ending conference organized by Sports Vision with 4-1 mark in Group A.

They finished behind the unbeaten topnotcher National University Lady Bulldogs while Adamson and Arellano took the two other Final Four berths in Group B of the tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics.

FEU also shut the door on third-running Ateneo (3-2), which had hoped to force a playoff for the last semis spot on a Lyceum victory.

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Arellano, the No. 2 squad in Group B, takes on NU at 4 p.m. while Adamson battles FEU at 6:30 p.m. in a pair of best-of-three series starting tomorrow.

Toni Basas powered FEU with 21 points built on 17 attacks.

Pons arrived yesterday after a stint with the national squad in the Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in Singapore but will skip the rest of the Lady Tamaraws’ matches together with Kyla Atienza to focus on the UAAP beach volleyball tournament which starts on Thursday.

Christine Miralles scored 12 hits while Rocelyn Hongria turned in an 11-point effort for the Lady Pirates, who ended up with a 1-4 slate.

Lyceum came out smoking and stunned a listless FEU side in the opening frame. The Lady Pirates then fought back from huge deficits in the second to force a deuce game, only to yield with late miscues.

That enabled the Lady Tams to equalize and the Morayta-based squad re-grouped and imposed their will and strength to cruise to victories in the next two and into the semis against Adamson.

Later in the night, Christine Soyud and Joy Dacoron provided the firepower while Lee-Ann Perez took control of the net in the decider as the Jema Galanza-less Adamson edged also-ran San Beda, 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, 21-25, 15-11, to sweep the Group B elims.

Soyud, Dacoron and Perez teamed up to put the Lady Falcons ahead, 13-7, in the decider, while Chiara Permentilla came through with the game-clincher to check their four errors in the stretch and hand Adamson a 5-0 record, matching its Group A counterpart National U’s feat.

The Lady Falcons bucked the absence of Galanza, who watched from the bench after being sidelined by an ankle injury she sustained last Monday in their match against Saint Benilde.

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