FAR Eastern University’s Jude Garcia and Kevin Hadlocon completed an amazing seven-game elimination sweep with a 21-3, 21-5 demolition of Ateneo’s Abai Llenos and Kurt Aguilar to earn an outright Finals berth in the UAAP Season 81 men’s beach volleyball tournament on Friday at the Sands by the Bay in Pasay City.
Garcia and Hadlocon brought FEU back to the beach volleyball Finals since its runner-up finish in Season 79 as the Tamaraws ended the elimination with an immaculate 7-0 win-loss record capped by the most lopsided rout of the season over the Blue Eagles Llenos and Aguilar, who was booted out of contention with a 2-5 card.
Garcia made sure that he and Hadlocon won’t waste this golden opportunity to end a seven-year drought dating back to Season 74.
“Pinaghirapan namin ‘tong dalawa makuha to kaya pagdating sa championship pagigihan pa namin ng mabuti,” he said. “First time ko po maka sweep. Siyempre nakakapressure din kasi ang daming expectation sa amin, daming nakaabang. ‘Yung focus namin andun pa rin saka composure ng isa't isa.”
The Tamaraws will have to wait for their foes in the best-of-three Finals series on Sunday as the three semifinalists composed of twice-to-beat University of Santo Tomas and National University and Adamson University, who will clash in a do-or-die first phase of the stepladder on Saturday morning.
“Sobrang hungry po kami na ibalik yung korona namin sa FEU kasi dream namin eh. ‘Yung batch namin nila Richard (Solis), wala pa kaming championship kaya kailangan ngayon abot kamay na namin yung goal namin kaya dapat all out pa rin kami,” Garcia added.
UST’s Krung Arbasto and Jaron Requinton clinched the No.2 spot and the twice-to-beat advantage with a decisive 30-33, 21-12, 15-13 over NU’s Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad, who settled for third place with a 5-2 record and will face Adamson.
“Sa amin na lang, stay the same pa rin. Wag mag kumpyansa kasi bilog ang bola, kaya tibayin na lang ang loob. Patibayan na lang sa loob ng court,” said Arbasto, who won six of their seven games in the elims with Requinton, as they wait for their foe in the last phase of the stepladder.
His rookie partner agreed.
“Tignan po kung sino po makakalabaan namin sa twice to beat po, tapos i-ready lang po sarili at ‘yung enjoyment andun pa rin po,” Requinton added.
Adamson’s Pablico and Valdez (4-3) sealed the last semifinals slot with a 21-18, 21-18 conquest over winless De La Salle’s Geraint Bacon and Paul Serrano (0-7).
UP’s Mac Millete and Niccolo Consuelo (2-5) took down Alven Aljas and Clifford Inoferio of UE (2-5), 21-15, 21-17, to end their stint in high spirits.