FEU Lady Tamaraws extend Final Four series by defeating Ateneo Lady Eagles in five

Not today.

That’s what the FEU Lady Tamaraws said to the Ateneo Lady Eagles after winning their Final Four encounter in five-set fashion at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Their victory forces a do-or-die match with the top seed on Wednesday, May 8.

Lady Eagles dominate opening set

Ateneo showed why they are the number one team by racing to an 7-1 advantage early in set one. But the Lady Tamaraws scored two quick points to narrow the deficit to four, 7-3. Team captain Bea De Leon sent her squad into the first technical timeout with an 8-3 lead via a successful attack.

The Lady Eagles dominated even more by capitalizing on FEU’s first ball errors. France Ronquillo’s spike that hit the antenna gave Ateneo a whopping 16-6 advantage. The Lady Tamaraws have not registered an attack point until Jeanette Villareal’s strike brought the tally to 18-7. FEU’s woes continued as Coach Almadro’s crew limited them to three points after the second TTO.

Kyle Negrito’s kill block on Ponggay Gaston adjusted the count to 20-10. However, the top seed closed the first chapter by scoring the last five points. Kat Tolentino’s on-target attack handed set point to the Lady Eagles while De Leon’s quick hit from the middle settled the count at 25-10.

FEU only had one attack point for the entire set while Ateneo made ten. The Lady Eagles also had three less errors than FEU’s eight. Ateneo also had the upper hand in service aces, 5-2.

Lady Tamaraws knot the set tally

Ateneo was poised to take their second straight set with an 8-5 lead. The Lady Tamaraws found their bearings to level the count at 9-9 and kept the game close since. But the Lady Eagles took a 16-14 lead going into the second technical timeout courtesy of a Heather Guino-o service error and a service ace on their end.

The Morayta crew owned a 19-16 lead after a Ronquillo ace. But the two-time champions were not done as they forced another deadlock at 20. Both teams traded points until 23-23. Then, Villareal brought Coach George Pascua’s troops to set point with a strong tip from an overset by Ateneo’s Janel Maraguinot. Gaston’s succeeding attack did not clear the net to hand the set to FEU, 25-23.

While Ateneo had an 13-11 lead in attack points, the Lady Tamaraws had the edge in kill blocks (3-1) and committed less errors than the Lady Eagles.

FEU survives set three

The Lady Eagles held a 10-5 lead before the Lady Tamaraws stormed back to tie the game at 11. Both teams matched wits until 17-17 as FEU embarked on a 6-2 spurt to open a 23-19 advantage. Gaston’s attack error handed FEU set point at 24-19. However, Ateneo was not yet done as they connected on three straight points to narrow the distance to two, 24-22.

But Wong’s service went straight to the net to finish the third frame to FEU’s favor, 25-22. The Lady Tamaraws made five service aces as compared to Ateneo’s one. The Lady Eagles also had ten unforced errors while FEU only had six. Those figures negated Ateneo’s 13-9 advantage in attack points.

Ateneo forces fifth set

The Lady Eagles raced to a 9-3 lead in the fourth set but the Lady Tamaraws made a run to trim the distance to two, 11-9. From there, Ateneo unleashed a strong service game to force a deciding set via a 14-3 run. Gaston’s attack that landed between Ronquillo and Ivana Agudo puts the match on the verge of set five while De Leon’s ace sealed the set at 25-12 for the Lady Eagles.

Ateneo connected on seven service aces in the set, five more than FEU’s. The Lady Eagles also limited the Lady Tamaraws to only four attack points against seven unforced errors.

Lady Tamaraws take it in five

The Lady Tamaraws sparked a 4-0 run after Ateneo takes a 5-3. But the Lady Eagles scored two quick ones to level the count at seven apiece. FEU took a one point lead before the changeover after Angel Cayuna activates Villareal for a quick attack.

FEU took control of the home stretch since by scoring three more points to create an 11-7 opening. Ronquillo’s service ace made it 12-7 while De Leon’s attack did not cross to give FEU match point. A Samonte attack error ended the set and the match for FEU, 15-8.

Guino-o is named Player of the Game.