Pons admits jitters affected Lady Tamaraws in Game 1 loss
Bernadeth Pons has become one of the premier players in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, but all her battles in the last five years still didn’t fully prepare her for the intensity of a finals series.
Pons and Far Eastern University, despite playing a total of 10 sets against the La Salle in the eliminations, couldn’t muster a set against the defending champion in Game 1 of the Season 80 Finals on Saturday.
She admitted that nerves may have gotten to the Lady Tamaraws, whose best finish in the last decade–while La Salle established itself as a powerhouse–was a Final Four stint, in their championship appearance.
“Maybe we played nervously because this was our first appearance in the finals,” said Pons in Filipino after the 29-27, 25-21, 25-22 setback on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “I think we were able to overcome the jitters because we know that these games would be really close with long rallies.”
The Lady Tamaraws, who had a 10-4 record entering the semifinals, played like an eight seed as they threw away 34 free points and 17 of those were given to the Lady Spikers in the first set alone.
In fact, it was a service error on Heather Guino-o’s part that ultimately doomed FEU and awarded the 1-0 series lead to the Lady Spikers.
Pons, who had nine points in the game, said their inexperience in the finals contributed to the erratic play.
“The errors really crushed us,” said Pons, who averaged 15.38 points during the eliminations. “We have to lessen our errors because it was one way La Salle won the game. La Salle limited their errors , while we committed so many.”