FEU Lady Tamaraws survive five-set thriller against NU Lady Bulldogs
Bernadeth Pons and the Lady Tamaraws stay firmly in fourth with their sixth win in 11 outings. Jerome Ascano

FAR Eastern University recovered from a mid-match meltdown to edge National University in a five-set showdown of midtable squads on Saturday in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at Philsports Arena.

The Lady Tamaraws squeaked past the Lady Bulldogs, 27-25, 25-17, 22-25, 26-28, 15-10 to bounce back from a devastating loss and boost their bid for the playoffs.

FEU, coming off a straight-sets loss to Ateneo, stayed in fourth spot but their sixth win in 11 outings trimmed the gap on third-running University of the Philippines (6-4).

The Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, suffered their sixth loss in 11 matches, failing to score a follow-up to a straight-sets demolition of lowly University of the East.

Bernadeth Pons scored a career-high 30 points on 27 spikes.

Sophomore open spiker Toni Basas had 21 markers and second year Jerrili Malabanan also registered her career-high 20 points for FEU.

“‘Yung focus lang din ng mga bata kasi sabi ko nga lagi niyong ibigay ang lahat kasi unang-una hangga’t maaari hindi na tayo pwedeng matalo kasi ‘yung standing natin sobrang close so once na natalo ka dyan medyo delikado ka maiiwan ka eh so ‘yun ang kailangan namin panghawakan,” said FEU coach Shaq de los Santos.

“Kailangan every point na gagawin namin all out kami. Kahit malayo ’yan, ’wag niyong tignan ang score kung ilan ang lamang ang tignan niyo kung ano ’yung performance natin kung paano tayo makakapagpaganda ng laro,” he added.

FEU pulled away via a 5-1 run to take a 10-6 lead in the fifth and NU wasn’t able to catch up.

“Syempre expected talaga namin na hahaba siya kahit na ganoon ’yung first two sets pero syempre iba pa rin ’yung pressure at momentum pag nalipat, ibang usapan kasi,” said de los Santos.

For a while it looked like NU was going to complete a huge comeback, but FEU simply refused to fold.

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“Medyo nag-relax at the same time ‘yung service-receive namin nawala. Hindi naman actually nawala pero bumaba ang percentage eh ‘yun ang puhunan namin especially noong second set as in kargado talaga na ‘di basta makukuha which is noong third and fourth sets nawala,” said De los Santos.

Jaja Santiago had a season-high 28 points for NU, while skipper Myla Pablo added 17.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada