MANILA -- The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws solidified their hold at the No. 3 spot of the UAAP Season 79 men's volleyball tournament elimination round with a straight set victory against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tiger Spikers, 25-23, 25-18, 25-18, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum Saturday.
The Tamaraws are headed to the Final Four as the third seed with their 8-6 win-loss card, facing the No. 4 Tiger Spikers (6-8) anew.
Greg Dolor spearheaded the Tamaraws with a game-high 13 points, three of which off the block, while Richard Solis and Jude Garcia added a combined 20 points.
"Kung titingnan mo, sasabihin mo no bearing pero hindi namin siya kinuha ng ganoon. Talagang naka-mindset ang mga bata na may bearing itong game na ito (If you look at it, you might think [the game] has no bearing, but we did not look at it that way. The players had the mindset that this game has a bearing)," FEU headcoach Rey Diaz said.
Dolor started hot in the third set, hitting three consecutive attacks and a block to establish an early 8-4 separation.
Bench player Isaiah Icalina tried to lift his team after the first technical timeout with a string of points, including an equalizing soft hit, 9-all. But FEU stepped on the gas pedal again and zoomed in to a 16-12 advantage.
The Tamaraws stretched their lead in the third frame to 8 after back-to-back kills by Peter Quiel and a block to a spike by UST's Jerico Jose, 23-15.
Struggling setter Timothy Tajanlangit of the Tiger Spikers closed the match with a service error, 25-18.
"Ang ginawa kong motivation sa kanila is ito ang magsasabi sa mga future (players) na gustong pumunta ng FEU (The motivation I gave them is that this will serve as a signal to future players who want to play for FEU)," Diaz said. "Sabi ko sa kanila na ipakita natin ang pusong FEU, kung ano ang larong FEU (I told them let's show the heart of FEU, what the FEU game is)."
UST's main gunners Jose and Manuel Medina were limited to just seven and five points, respectively.
Down by four downstretch of the opening set, the Tiger Spikers rallied back and snatched the lead temporarily after an ace of Tajanlangit, 20-19.
But Solis made sure his presence would be felt at the net after a hit and a solid block to put FEU at set point, 24-21.
The Tamaraws had an easy second set, creating a 16-10 cushion after a denial to Jayvee Sumagaysay's quick spike. Quiel gave the second frame to his team, producing the last three markers.
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