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Adamson escapes UST in opening day classic

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The Adamson Lady Falcons nearly fell apart, but managed to recover just in time to dispel the feisty University of Santo Tomas Tigresses 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 28-30, 16-14 in their first match of the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the PhilSports Arena, earlier today.

The Lady Falcons displayed all-around brilliance in the first two sets. Their three main scoring options – Jemma Galanza, Mylene Paat, and May Roque – took turns blasting UST’s futile defense.

Leading 2-0 in sets, Adamson threatened to sweep the match in the third frame as they led 20-17. UST’s graduating middle blocker Jessie De Leon, however, came to the rescue. Her serving baffled the Adamson back line, producing not only aces but also free balls which second-year open hitter Cherry Rondina converted into points. UST snatched the final eight points of the set to extend the match.

Repelling UST’s attacks at the net, the Lady Falcons again seemed poised to close the match, leading 20-13. The Tigresses again mounted another comeback, taking eight of the next 10 points. With their lead trimmed down to one, 22-21, the Lady Falcons crawled to match point, 24-23, after a May Roque block on Cortez. But the Tigresses refused to go down, forcing a deuce at the next point and surviving another long rally when Adamson held match point. UST wrestled momentum away and leaned on team captain Ej Laure to grab the last two set-winning points.

Both squads traded the lead for much of the deciding set. Adamson again took prime position to end the match, leading 14-12 after a Galanza smash. But a Laure combination play and a Paat attack error brought the match to another deuce. With tensions high, Paat redeemed herself with a monstrous block on Cherry Rondina, setting up Jenma Galanza’s game-winning ace.

Galanza towed the Lady Falcons with a career-high 28 points off 25 attacks and 3 aces, and added 10 digs. Newly-minted team captain Paat contributed 19 points, while May Roque had 13.

“Naging complacent lang siguro kami noong mga huling set,” said Adamson head coach Sherwin Meneses on his team’s late set struggles. “Kailangan namin mag-step up ‘yung mga leaders namin buti na lang tumalab na noong huling set. Kailangan namin maging mas consistent pa.”

UST’s Rondina also notched a career-high with 30 points off 25 kills, 3 blocks, and 2 aces. Team captain Ej Laure had 15 points, while Ria Meneses pitched in 13 points with 5 blocks and 3 aces.

The Lady Falcons next face the 0-1 NU Lady Bulldogs on Saturday, February 6, 2 p.m. at the PhilSports Arena. UST have the 1-0 defending champs Ateneo Lady Eagles on Sunday, February 7, 2 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AdU (3) – Galanza 28, Paat 19, Roque 13, Alkuino 7, Emnas 6, Dacoron 5, Mohammad 1, Flora 0, Lebumfacil (L), Tempiatura (L)

UST (2) – Rondina 30, Laure 15, Meneses 13, De Leon 8, Rivera 7, Tunay 5, Cortez 5, Bicar 1, Cabanos 1, Francisco 0, Reyes (L), Dizon (L)

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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