NATIONAL University saw opponents turn into allies as UST and FEU fans were among the crowd of 7,200 people who cheered them to end University of the Philippines’ Final Four hopes on Sunday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
While waiting for their respective team's match, the Tigresses and Lady Tamaraws fans were hoping that the also-ran Lady Bulldogs would play a spoiler role and beat the Lady Maroons for UST and FEU to complete the Final Four cast.
During the toe-to-toe fifth set, UST and FEU fans, who both wore yellow, surprisingly cheered for NU that out-roared the UP fans.
A group of yellow-clad supporters even shouted, ‘NU! NU! NU!’ during the crucial stretch of the decider.
Audrey Paran nailed the match-winning spike that shattered UP’s semis hopes and sent UST and FEU fans into a wild celebration as their teams joined Ateneo and La Salle in the Final Four.
She was surprised of the sudden support.
“Na-shock nga kami may nagtsi-cheer sa amin,” Paran said. “Di ko mini-mean na walang nagsu-support sa amin, kanina po. Ang meaning ko lang kasi makikita mo naman po naka-yellow, naka-maroon parang na-shock lang po kami na nagtsi-cheer ang ibang school for us.”
“Yun ang mini-mean ko dun ha nothing against NU supporters. Baka ma-bash ako,” she added.
Libero rookie Jennifer Nierva, who protected the floor with 30 digs and 27 excellent sets, said she was energized by the crowd.
“Actually, nakaka-hype siya. Parang gusto mo lalong manalo kasi lahat ng crowd nasa inyo na eh,” Nierva said. “Kaya talagang sabi ko, ‘amin ‘to’. Kilala naman natin ang UP crowd laging nandoon talaga.”
NU head coach Norman Miguel also bared that their goal was not to spoil UP’s Final Four chances but to end their season on a high note.
“Actually hindi naman, ang sa amin lang talaga purely i-end namin ang last two games namin na may magandang performance,” said Miguel as they improved to four wins in 13 games. “Yung panalo talaga, hindi para i-oust yung UP. It never crossed out minds na maging ganun. Basta maglaro lang kami, ipanalo. I-try ipanalo itong game na ‘to.”