Lady Tams bag 1st Shakey’s V-L crown, sweep Bulldogs

The FEU Lady Tams, led by coach Shaq delos Santos and Finals MVP Rachel Ann Daquis, celebrate their victory in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference, the school’s first championship since the league inaugurals in 2004.(pr photo)
The FEU Lady Tams, led by coach Shaq delos Santos and Finals MVP Rachel Ann Daquis, celebrate their victory in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference, the school’s first championship since the league inaugurals in 2004.(pr photo)

Far Eastern U mastered National U with sustained firepower and a hard-nosed net defense that cut the taller Lady Bulldogs down to size as the Lady Tams fashioned out a 25-21, 25-23, 25-18 victory to nail their first-ever Shakey’s V-League crown before a jampacked Sunday crowd at The Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Tams, came out of a week-long break an organized lot with Bernadette Pons combining splendidly with Rachel Ann Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga in offense while the rest provided the grit and spunk in defense that stymied the defending champions’ vaunted attacking game anchored on the tall Santiago sisters.
Gonzaga, the talented southpaw and former league MVP who made a name winning multiple championships in beach volley, banged away a ferocious kill at center after a short rally, ending the one-hour and 47-minute encounter dominated by the Lady Tams, who finally ended their long search for a crown in Season 11 First Conference after joining five others in the inaugurals of the country’s premier women’s volley league in 2004 put up by Shakey’s.
The Lady Tams surprised the fancied defending champions with a thrilling 26-24, 26-24, 25-22 victory in the opener of the best-of-three series last week.
“It’s a nice feeling to win a championship for FEU,” said FEU coach Shaq delos Santos as the Lady Tams and their supporters whooped it up at centercourt after Gonzaga delivered the championship point.
it was equally special for the comely Daquis, an FEU alumna who never won a title during her college days until she was tapped to play as one of their local reinforcements along with Gonzaga midway through the conference.
“I thank God and the school for the opportunity they gave me. It’s extra special for me because I finally gave my school a title,” said Daquis, who churned out a 15-hit effort, highlighted by 12 kills and later copped the Finals MVP honors.
Dindin Santiago, the conference MVP, finished with just 12 hits after scoring 37 in the other league while younger sister Jaja fared ever worse with six points. But the duo struggled all game in the face of the Lady Tams’ impressive three-blocker set-up that underscored their tough defensive stand.
The Lady Tams racked up five straight points, aided by NU’s poor reception, to pull away at 20-13 in the third set. Although the Lady Bulldogs closed the gap at 17-22, Dindin Santiago made a service error and Myla Pablo fired, setting the stage for a Gonzaga kill.
NU also threatened in the second set at 23-24 on a Jaja Santiago block after a long rally but the NU stalwart committed a net violation, giving the Lady Tams the close win.
Earlier, Adamson also repeated over University of Santo Tomas, 25-15, 25-17, 25-22, to clinch third place honors in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil.
Four Lady Falcons churned out double-digit scores to underscore the team’s balanced offensive sock with Thai Pacharee firing 13 kills for a 14-hit output. Shiela Pineda, Pau Soriano and Amanda Villanueva backed her up with 11 points apiece as the San Marcelino-based squad, which took the opener, 25-17, 25-23, 18-25, 25-19, wrapped up their best-of-three series.
The Lady Falcons also held Ennajie Laure to nine hits with Eiriel Cortez leading UST’s losing stand with 13 points.(pr)

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