NU claws back to stun FEU in UAAP men’s volleyball finals game oneBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — National University faced a two-set deficit but still won in dominating fashion over Far Eastern University, 16-25, 18-25, 25-13, 25-17, 15-8, Saturday to take game one of the UAAP men’s volleyball finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After yielding the first two sets, the Bulldogs held the defending champions spellbound as they built double-digit leads in the third and fourth sets.
“Simple lang [ginawa namin para makabalik], kailangan imotivate namin sarili namin. Wala naman ibang tutulog samin kundi sa sarili namin eh,” said Reyson Fuentes.
“Nagmamadali kasi kami masyado nung una, marami kaming gustong gawin at gusto mo pumatay agad. Di kami nagdahan dahan,” also said the open spiker.
In the decisive fifth set, though, the Bulldogs were quick to pile on the points — breaking a 4-4 deadlock and leading by as much as seven.
A block from Fuentes on Arvin Avila — who incidentally were teammates in FEU in 2008 — clinched the victory — NU’s first in a finals series.
“Mas excited than kinabahan. Ito yung moment na inaantay namin,” said top scorer Torres, who had 18 points including four blocks and a service ace.
FEU head coach George Pascua admitted his players got intimated when NU’s blocking toughened up in the third set.
The Bulldogs got 16 points off blocks while the Tamaraws only had eight.
“Nag-ingat na sila nung third set, gusto na nila manalo. Dun na nagbago flow. Di na kami nakareceive,” said Pascua after the game.
John Ian Depamaylo scored 19 points, including three blocks, for FEU, while Avila added 17.