Lady Tamaraws eye finals vs embattled Eagles
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - April 21, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Far Eastern U feels this is the best chance to bring back its glory years and at the same stop what has become a familiar blue-versus-green show in the biggest stage of UAAP women’s volleyball. 

Armed with twice-to-beat advantage and peaking at the right time, the second-seeded Lady Tams intend to make the most of their higher standing and Final Four incentive against No. 3 Ateneo to finish off the Lady Eagles today and book their first finals stint since the batch of Rachel Anne Daquis reached the Last Dance in Season 71.

“The team is not satisfied just being in the Final Four this time, especially myself since this is my last chance to reach the finals,” said FEU skipper Bernadeth Pons in Filipino. Her leadership and all-around game helped the squad end the elims with three straight victories to secure No. 2 in their fourth consecutive semis appearance.

FEU coach George Pascua’s wards are looking to break the university’s 10-year title drought and help it clinch the milestone 30th women’s volleyball tiara overall.

“In the past it was FEU or UST always contending for the women’s volleyball title so we want to bring that back,” said Pascua in Filipino. “We’re gunning for our 30th title and FEU is the host of Season 80, 80 is the age of the owner of FEU; the signs are all there. We shouldn’t let this opportunity slip away from our hands.” 

An FEU victory in the 4 p.m. showdown at MOA Arena will not only put in on track for a first crown since Season 70 but also shut the door on a seventh straight title showdown involving Ateneo and La Salle.

Now, more than ever, the Lady Eagles, who lost their last two outings in the elims, need to live up to their “heart-strong” mantra as they try to overcome FEU’s advantage.

AdMU skipper Maddie Madayag said they draw confidence from the fact that Ateneo had been in such situation before in Season 76, where the then No. 3 Lady Eagles defeated second-ranked National U twice in the stepladder semis to advance to the finals, where they eventually beat erstwhile unbeaten DLSU thrice to cop the diadem.

“The Ateneo has been here in Season 76. We’re hoping we’ll play like that now,” said Madayag.

The Lady Eagles had a full week to recover mentally from the straight-set battering they received from No. 1 La Salle at the end of elims play.

“We’re gonna be confident despite the loss,” maintained Madayag. “We just need to be happy like what coach (Tai Bundit) has been saying. Kailangan lang talaga mag-enjoy (It’s important we enjoy playing again).”

Top seed La Salle, the holders who are carrying the semis bonus and an eight-game streak, qne No. 4 National U, which reached the Last=Four despite logging only a win in the second round, figure in the other semis pairing firing off on Sunday yet.

Meanwhile, the FEU Tams seek the same objective in their 2 p.m. F4 duel with embattled champs Ateneo today.

The No. 2 Tams aim to capitalize on their win-once bonus to reach their first finals since Season 75 and put an end to the three-year reign on the No. 3 Eagles, whom they swept in their two meetings in the preliminaries.

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