"It's a test of character on paano mo panghahawakan 'yung situation na tight nang hindi tumatawag ng timeout 'yung coach mo," said FEU coach Edison Orcullo of his wards’ gritty stand in the pivotal third frame.
After the two teams split the first two sets, the Tamaraws trailed in the next, 6-8, but kept it close before striking back late to seize a 24-22 edge. The Blue Eagles did force extensions behind their own key hits but Andrei Delicana came through with a big cross-court kill to secure the set – and the game edge – for the Morayta-based spikers.
"Actually 'yung system na 'yun, pilit naming nilalagay sa kultura namin na diskartehan mo muna," added Orcullo.
Delicana finished with 15 spikes, including back-to-back attacks that ended the contest. He also had five blocks that helped stymie the Ateneo offense.
Ariel Cacao also shone for FEU as he came up with 21 excellent sets, aiding Jomel Codilla and Lirick Mendoza’s identical 13-hit efforts.
Amil Pacinio led Ateneo with a game-high 24-point output on 22 attacks and two blocks, while Jian Salarzon added 19 markers for the Blue Eagles.