MANILA, Philippines -- Far Eastern University (FEU) bucked a flat start as it turned back reigning NCAA champion Perpetual Help, 23-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-21, to move one step closer to the quarterfinals in a Palm Sunday match in the Shakey's V-League Season 11 First Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
Bernandette Pons and Mary Remy Joy Palma led the attack by uncorking 20 and 16 hits, respectively, to help the Lady Tams nail their second win against the same number of losses, or a win away from advancing to the next round.
"We had a bad start, good thing that my players kept their composure and played strong the last few sets," said FEU coach Shaq delos Santos.
The Lady Altas just didn't have an answer to Pons and Palma who peppered them with a combined 32 kills sending them off-balanced.
So unnerved was Perpetual by Pons and Palma's continuous pounding that only 38 of its 223 dig attempts were successful, way below FEU's 54 successful digs out of just 218 tries, 24 of which came from Christine Agno.
The match almost went into a fifth and deciding set when FEU erected an almost insurmountable 19-10 lead before Perpetual Help fought its way back to slice it down to just a 23-20 deficit.
And then Palma unleashed a pair of kills that quashed the Lady Altas' uprising.
Abigail Praca and Norie Jane Diaz paced the Lady Altas by combining 34 hits but they were outplayed by the power-hitting duo of Pons and Palma in the final three sets that hastened their downfall.
The Lady Altas fell to their third straight loss and on the brink of elimination.
And once again, the Las Pinas-based spikers played minus their coach Sammy Acaylar, who skipped the first few games to coach the Phl women's national team competing in the Asian Women's Club Championship in Thailand.