It may have been a straight sets victory for Adamson but UE was within striking distance from start to finish when the 2 teams battled in the 1st round of the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament.
Dodging meltdown after meltdown midway through every set, the Lady Falcons turned back UE to tally their 1st win streak of the season and move up to a 3-4 record via the 25-22, 25-22, 25-19 victory Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Even Adamson head coach Sherwin Meneses was puzzled by his wards lukewarm performance despite being the stronger team on paper.
“Hindi ko nga alam bakit dikit eh,” he told the press.
“Parang pag nagsa-sub ako ayaw suportahan nung mga 1st stringer namin eh,” he added, talking about fielding in his 2nd unit. “Sabi ko nga sa mga starters, ‘Suportahan niyo naman ‘yung magsa-sub para mabigyan ng confidence pagdating ng 2nd round.’”
Jema Galanza continued to deliver MVP numbers, tallying 15 points all from kills with 10 digs to boot. Providing ample support were skipper Mylene Paat and sophomore Mhay Roque, who combined for 23 points.
Aside from putting the 4-game skid in the past, Meneses was also relieved to have finally won his 1st game at the Big Dome.
“Oo nga, ‘no? First win namin sa Araneta. Salamat na rin kasi nanalo kami rito. Siguro sa susunod hindi na masyadong maiilang pag dito kasi sobrang lamig eh,” he quipped.
Famed for being 1 of the better defending teams in the league, Adamson has been out of character so far, botching many first balls in its 1st 7 outings.
This will be on top of the coaching staff’s priority when they return to training in preparation for the stiffer competition in the next round.
“#1 diyan, ‘yung depensa namin sa short ball eh. Kulang sa hakbang,” he admitted. “Ang daming nagiging error sa bandang gitna pero iwo-work naman namin para sa 2nd round. ‘Yung attack nandyan naman eh. ‘Yung error timing lang talaga eh.”
Assessing his team’s roller coaster ride, the mentor shared he is far from satisfied with how his girls are playing.
“Medyo mababa ‘yung game namin sa 1st round,” said Meneses. “Pero itong 2-game winning streak namin sana magtuloy-tuloy. Pipilitin namin maka-angat sa 2nd round.”
This year’s performance of the Lady Falcons is a complete contrast with their Season 77 campaign where they got a good headstart, before sputtering when it truly mattered to finish in 7th place.
On turning things around, the coach closed by saying, “Baliktad kasi nung nakaraan maganda ‘yung simula namin. Sana ngayon, pangit ‘yung simula, sana maganda ‘yung pagtatapos. ‘Yung coaching staff ko magta-trabaho kami ng husto.” — By Mac Dionisio