May 24, 2024

UAAP: What will it take to beat UST, La Salle, NU? Coach Manolo Refugia sets goal for FEU in round 2

UAAP: What will it take to beat UST, La Salle, NU? Coach Manolo Refugia sets goal for FEU in round 2
Coach Manolo Refugia hands out instructions to Tin Ubaldo during the FEU Lady Tamaraws' four-set win over the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Photo (c) RM Chua/One Sports

Far Eastern University is one step closer to reaching its goal of a Final Four finish in this UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball tournament.

After overpowering Ateneo de Manila University in four sets, the Lady Tamaraws now sit with a 4-3 record to end the first round, proving they are indeed a dangerous team to go up against. Entering the final half of the season, FEU is two games clear of both Ateneo and Adamson for the last playoff ticket.

[ALSO READ: UAAP: FEU puts emphasis on blocking with season-high 15 rejections vs Ateneo]

But more than just making the Final Four, FEU also wants to be considered a legit title contender.

However, standing in their way are the three teams they have yet to beat this season—the University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University, and National University.

That is why for FEU coach Manolo Refugia, consistency will be key for his team if they are to have a shot at defeating the league leaders in the second round.

"Sa tingin ko, mas kailangan namin maging consistent dun sa ginagawa namin," Refugia said. "Knowing na 'yung sa tatlong talo namin, parang naramdaman nila na kaya namin lumaban pala. So nakita nila, na-feel nila, naramdaman nila kung paano kalaban yung nasa Top 3, or 'yung dating nasa Final Four."

"Etong magiging preparation siguro sa second round is 'yung habulin 'yung mga dapat habulin na skills para mapagaralan namin 'yung mga tatlong 'yun," he added.

But of course, it’s not just the top three teams that FEU needs to handle in the second round.

Refugia emphasized that the Lady Tamaraws must not underestimate teams positioned lower than them in the standings.

"Siyempre, hindi puwede na pabayaan pa rin 'yung ibang teams. Siyempre, ayun ‘yung mabigat sa second round, 'di natin alam kung lahat ba eh papataas o meron bang pababa so, kailangan maging ready sa lahat so baunin 'yung mga dapat baunin na bala namin," said Refugia.

Looking ahead, FEU’s star setter Tin Ubaldo, who finished with 15 excellent sets vs. Ateneo, along with six points built on four attacks, and two blocks, knows that their solid record so far in Season 86 should further serve as motivation for the team, rather than allowing it to inflate their egos.

"We’re confident pero not too confident kasi maglalaban-laban pa ulit lahat at bilog pa rin 'yung bola. Hindi pa rin kami 'yung sure sa number four," said Ubaldo.

"'Yung confidence namin nandun, pero more on 'yung [kung anong] kailangan naming gawin sa training, and 'yung pagfo-focusan namin," she added.

The Lady Tamaraws will immediately be tested in the second round as they go up against the DLSU Lady Spikers on Saturday, March 23 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City at 4:00 p.m.