FAR Eastern University has just survived a third straight do-or-die match with a dramatic five-set victory over University of Santo Tomas to clinch the last berth in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament stepladder playoffs.
And ace spiker Bernadeth Pons is aware the Lady Tamaraws need to do even more if they intend to reach as far as the finals against defending champion Ateneo.
“Tatlong do-or-die games (ang pinagdaanan namin). Sobrang crucial talaga bago kami makapasok ng semis,” said Pons shortly after the team’s 25-21, 25-15, 20-25, 16-25, 15-6 win over the Tigresses on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Sobrang fulfilling talaga and siyempre happy.”
Prior to the playoff against UST, the Morayta-based school had to go through two winner-take-all matches opposite University of the Philippines and Adamson during the elimination round.
FEU was involved in a four-way logjam with UST, UP, and Adamson at the time with identical 5-8 (win-loss) slates.
Following their win over the Tigresses, the Lady Tams again face another do-or-die encounter against third seed National University on Saturday.
FEU won over NU in the first round, 25-23, 26-24, 25-10, but the Lady Bulldogs evened matters in the second round by scoring a 25-21, 25-20, 25-23 win under new coach Roger Gorayeb.
“First round panalo kami, second round panalo sila,” recalled Pons, the sophomore spiker from Negros Occidental. “Mas importante sa Saturday na game kasi nasa semis na kami.”
“Kailangan namin talaga galingan,” she added. “Kung ano ang ginawa namin sa last three games namin, kung kailangan triplehin pa namin sa NU para maipanalo lang namin yung game, gagawin namin.”
Surviving the Lady Bulldogs meant going up against no. 2 seed De La Salle Lady Spikers, who enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the semis.
“Dapat gagawin talaga namin kasi sobrang importante siya, andito na kami sa goal namin, nasa semis na, so kailangan pa naming i-angat ito,” she said.
The showdown between the Lady Tams and Lady Bulldogs is set at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at 4 p.m.