Bernadeth Pons has missed five of her team’s last six games but somehow, Far Eastern University still went on to make it to the championship round of the PVL Collegiate Conference.
Minus Pons, FEU fell short in the finals opener but not after going toe-to-toe against an undefeated National University side, bannered by the towering Jaja Santiago.
Santiago imposed her will and finished with a game-high 23 points, including four blocks and four service aces.
The Lady Bulldogs took Game 1, 25-22, 21-25, 25-18, 26-24.
The Lady Tamaraws are likely to be without their team captain in Pons and another key player in Kyla Atienza in Game 2.
The last time Pons showed up, she led FEU over Adamson in the semis decider on Saturday with 15 points.
Still, FEU coach George Pascua said his team will be ready to play on Saturday regardless.
“We’re prepared to play again without them,” said Pascua. “We’ve been able to perform during games that she (Pons) wasn’t there.”