NATIONAL University (NU) goes for a sweep of the race-to-two championship series with Far Eastern University (FEU), with the Lady Bulldogs eyeing their third straight Premiere Volleyball League Collegiate Conference crown today at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The Lady Bulldogs were forced to go four sets by the gritty Lady Tamaraws in Game One, 25-22, 21-25, 25-18, 26-24, on Wednesday night and they could bring the title home anew to Bustillos if they prevail in Game Two starting at 6:30 p.m.
But NU will have to brace for a major FEU comeback. FEU Coach George Pascua rued his wards’ errors late in the match that led to their defeat in Game One.
Down 1-2 and trailing 15-21 in the fourth set, the Lady Tamaraws mounted a stirring fightback, drawing level twice down the stretch, the last on a Celine Domingo kill that saved them a match point.
But they faltered on a service error by Heather Guino-o and a mishit by Domingo in the next play, enabling the Lady Bulldogs to clinch the victory and move a win from completing their sweep of the crown in the season-ending conference organized by Sports Vision.
“That crucial point, which led to a service error, should have been ours. I guess it’s the mind-set. We collapsed in the end,” said Pascua, also noting how they succumbed to 35 errors in their 25-22, 26-28, 27-29, 22-25 defeat to the Lady Bulldogs in the group eliminations of the tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics.
The Morayta-based spikers committed 27 miscues, four more than the Lady Bulldogs, with two coming at endgame that ruined their comeback bid.
Despite the Game One loss, Pascua remained satisfied with his wards’ performance, especially in the absence of their veteran leader and ace scorer Bernadeth Pons, who had to focus on her University Athletic Association of the Philippines beach volleyball campaign together with libero Kyla Atienza.
Without their team captain, the likes of Czarina Carandang, Toni Basas and Jeanette Villareal have stepped up and Pascua hopes the Lady Tamaraws will emerge a better team from their recent defeat and duplicate their feat against the Lady Falcons in the semis.
FEU also dropped the Final Four opener against the then-undefeated Adamson but swept the next two, to the chagrin of the Lady Falcons, to arrange the title showdown with the Lady Bulldogs.
“I am satisfied because they gave their best. It’s just that they succumbed in the end. It will only make us strong in Games Two and Three. It also happened to us in the best-of-three before. So I told them we should learn from that,” Pascua said.