FROM soaring all the way to the top armed with twice-to-beat advantage, Ateneo suddenly fell on the brink of elimination as the fourth-seed Far Eastern University forced a do-or-die Final Four match in UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Lady Eagles blew their twice-to-beat incentive and failed to book their flight back to the Finals falling to the Lady Tamaraws in five sets on Saturday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro and the whole team spent a little over an hour inside the locker room after the sorry loss that allowed FEU to force a rubber match on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Almadro was quiet walking out of the hallway of the locker room area and politely begged off for interview for the first time.
The Lady Eagles also shunned interviews from the reporters as they fell on the brink of losing to the Lady Tamaraws for the second straight year in the Final Four.
But Almadro assured one thing that "there’s no doubt" on his mind that the Lady Eagles will still reach the Finals.
Ateneo failed to utilize its blistering 25-10 win in the first set as it dropped the next two sets. The Lady Eagles caught fire in the fourth set with a 10-3 start before it was trimmed by the Lady Tams to just two, 11-9. The Katipunan-based spikers fired seven aces for a 14-3 run to force a fifth set.
But Ateneo lacked finishing touches in the decider and committed seven of their 34 errors in the frame as FEU became the second team to beat the Lady Eagles this season aside from their two elimination round losses to De La Salle.
The Lady Eagles demolished the Lady Tams in attacking with a 47-32 differential and even fired 17 aces but their late-game miscues cost them the match from tied at 7-apiece in the fifth failing to answer FEU’s 8-1 run.