ATENEO de Manila University weathered Far Eastern University's furious comeback, 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-27, 15-7, to boost its UAAP Season 85 Men's Volleyball Final Four hopes, Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles ended their two-game slide and improved to an even 6-6 to force a tie at the fourth spot with the Tamaraws, who absorbed their fourth consecutive defeat.
Ateneo's win served as a good springboard heading towards this Sunday's rivalry match against fellow Final Four hopeful De La Salle University.
“I'm very happy na yung mga players namin nag step up during the fifth set talagang they really wanted to win this game kasi yun nga to keep our hopes alive for the Final Four,” said head coach Timmy Sto. Tomas.
The Blue Eagles' net defense feasted in the fifth set with Chad Absin and Jian Salarzon having their hands on their 9-0 start. Ateneo has logged four blocks during that run.
Ateneo almost finished it when it was up 25-24 in the fourth frame when Amil Pacinio dumped the ball off a Tamaraws misreceive but FEU coaching staff called a clutch challenge for a net touch.
After the review, it was deemed successful as Pacinio's fingers slightly caught the tape of the net to tie the fourth at 25 before Mark Calado and Reymond Sabanal went back-to-back for the decider, 27-25.
Salarzon dropped 29 points on 23 attacks, four blocks, and two aces to go with 12 excellent receptions while middles Absin and Jetlee Gopio went for 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Ken Batas tallied 12 points while Pacinio got 11 points in less than three sets of play.
Calado brought the firepower for the Tamaraws anew with 31 points but again went to waste as well as Sabanal and Dryx Saavedra's 15 and 14 points, respectively.
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