By Jean Malanum

OFF TO THE FINALS. University of the East outside hitter Zyronne Montemayor (No. 8) against Far Eastern University-Diliman opposite hitter Amet Bituin during the semifinal of the UAAP Season 86 boys’ volleyball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City on February 2, 2024. UE won, 8-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-21, to arrange a title showdown with National University-Nazareth School. (UAAP photo)

MANILA – The University of the East (UE) Junior Red Warriors vowed to take home this year’s title of the UAAP boys volleyball as they see eye to eye with National University-Nazareth School (NUNS) in the best-of-three championship series beginning Tuesday.

The Junior Red Warrriors sealed their championship berth after they ended Far Eastern University-Diliman’s title-retention bid with an exciting 3-1 victory (8-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-21).

Led by outside hitters Jan Macam and Zyronne Montemayor, the Junior Red Warriors rallied to take the second set and managed to keep their momentum to wrap up the match.

“We really want to be in the Finals,” said UE head coach Raffy Mosuela.

“The players are motivated. They worked hard to improve their skills.”

Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series is on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

NU, bannered by reigning Best Setter and team skipper Jeffe Gallego Jr., advanced after beating University of Santo Tomas (UST), 23-25 25-21, 25-21, 25-17.

In the girls division, defending champion NU will meet UST at 3 p.m. in the step-ladder semifinal also on Tuesday.

The NUNS Lady Bullpups banked on MVP Kianne Olango and Davao-born Denesse Daylisan to prevail over the FEU Lady Baby Tamaraws, 25-17, 25-19, 25-23.

“We’re very happy because we were able to translate our training after that heartbreaking loss to UST. That’s so frustrating — even me, I’m so frustrated about that game,” said head coach Norman Miguel.

“I just said, ‘Let’s not talk about tactics, skills, but rather let’s prove to ourselves, to the NU community, and the people who are continuously supporting us that we’re going to fight until Finals,” he added. (PNA)