April 25, 2024

UAAP: Chenie Tagaod confident of FEU’s return to Final Four

UAAP: Chenie Tagaod confident of FEU’s return to Final Four
Photo (c) UAAP

Outside hitter Chenie Tagaod made a bold declaration for the FEU Lady Tamaraws ahead of the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball competition.

“Personally, alam ko sa sarili ko, and confident ako makakabalik kami sa Final Four this season,” she told One Sports and the UAAP Varsity Channel.

It’s certainly a strong message.

The last time the FEU Lady Tamaraws reached the Final Four, it was 2019. The squad bowed to eventual UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball champions, the Ateneo Lady Eagles.

In Season 85, the Tina Salak-led squad fell short of the Final Four, finishing with a 6-8 record.

  

It was so close and yet so far for the storied collegiate volleyball team, which boasts of 29 UAAP titles from its women’s division. This time, the Tamaraws are determined to return to glory, last tasted in Season 70.

So to prepare for Season 86, they flew west and sought guidance from a stalwart of FEU’s Season 81 squad–Ced Domingo.

  

A Finals MVP in the PVL, Domingo is now playing with Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand, a country known as a volleyball powerhouse in Southeast Asia.

The Lady Tamaraws also racked up plenty of experience, sweeping the Adamson Lady Falcons in the bronze match of the Shakey's Super League last November. They also managed to reach the finals of the 2023 V-League Collegiate Challenge, falling to the Benilde Lady Blazers.

So yes. For Tagaod, a Final Four return in Season 86 is achievable.

“(‘Yung) mga ginawa namin from training, Shakey’s (Super League), V-League, and nag-Thailand. Grabe, bugbugan ‘yung ensayo. Mas kailangan namin ‘yun para ma-prepare namin ‘yung katawan namin for this season,” she said.

“Ginawa namin talaga is pang Final Four na galawan talaga.”

The training may be harsh, but interim coach Manolo Refugia wants the Lady Tamaraws to show the fruits of their efforts.

“Gusto nila naka-focus kami sa game. Wala kaming ibang iisipin kung hindi mga happy moments namin para mas magaan sa loob ng court,” Tagaod said.

The possibility of a Final Four appearance would certainly be a happy memory for FEU.