After going winless against fellow UAAP schools, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons handed the Adamson University Lady Falcons their first loss in the PVL Collegiate Conference and gained the edge in their best-of-three semis series, 24-26, 25-19, 25-22, 25-19, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Adamson looked to have an easy first set win in sight, leading 22-15. But the Lady Falcons then gave up several consecutive errors and bad passes, leading to a 9-1 UP run. Behind 23-24, the Lady Falcons got reprieve when UP gave up two errors that powered their closing 3-0 run.
UP then imposed their serving on Adamson in the second frame. The Lady Falcons struggled to receive for much of the set, leading to a decisive 16-11 UP advantage which persisted until the end of the frame.
The third frame was a tight affair, until the Lady Maroons pulled away late via a 4-1 run punctuated by a Marian Buitre kill, that gave them a 23-19 lead.
After grabbing an 18-12, the Lady Falcons had the inside track towards a decider. However, Buitre and setter Mariane Sotomil had other ideas. The rookie found her senior four times in a run that gave the Lady Maroons a 21-18 lead, before the Lady Falcons responded. Eli Soyud tried to rally Adamson, slicing UP’s lead down to one, 21-20. But Buitre continued her assault, finishing the match with two more kills to punctuate her career outing.
“As I said, once beaten, twice shy,” said UP head coach Godfrey Okumu. “Today, I think we just played with more composure. Buitre played great for us down the stretch. She killed all the balls that was set to her.”
The graduating opposite hitter tallied 25 points. Middle blockers Marist Layug and Aie Gannaban managed 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Flora led the Lady Falcons with 20 points, 17 digs and 18 excellent receptions. Eli Soyud added 16 markers.
Game Two will be on Saturday at the same venue.
UP (3) – Buitre 25, Layug 14, Rosier 11, Gannapan 10, Molde 9, Sotomil 2, Estrañero 0, Altomea (L), Bautista (L)
AdU (1) – Flora 20, Soyud 16, Perez 11, Dacoron 8, Genesis 4, Igao 1, Permentilla 1, Uy 0, Yandoc 0, Ponce (L)