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Both sides of an upset: AdU gets it done against defending champs on Day One



Right from the first tip of the UAAP Season 78 Women’s Beach Volleyball Tournament, the tone was set for what looks to be the tightest field of competition in years.

It didn’t take long for the first giant to fall as the Adamson Lady Falcons took down the defending champs UST Tigresses in three tight sets.

UST’s pair of Cherry Rondina and Rica Rivera had not lost a match before the tournament with their last loss coming in Season 77 Finals against DLSU. They tore up all the regional circuits and won championships left and right.

Adamson, however, has a tradition to uphold. Like UST, the Lady Falcons are perennial Final Four contenders. This year’s pair, Gemma Galanza and Mylene Paat, had not logged time as a tandem in the UAAP before yesterday; both having only played as substitute players (Galanza on Season 76 and Paat on Season 77).

But Paat and Galanza showed great skill and composure against UST’s vaunted pair. They executed their strategy to the tee; constantly targeting Rivera and banking on their defense to control their attacks. They took the first set handily and built a comfy lead in the third set. When UST tried to fight back, Paat and Galanza communicated and pulled for each other eventually netting a surprising win.

The Adamsonians admit that the win boosted their morale tremendously. “Siyemere po ang lakas po talaga nila [UST] maglaro. Ginawa lang po talaga namin ‘yung makakaya namin, di kami nag-panic, thankfully nanalo po kami. Nakakagana lang po talaga na champion agad ‘yung natalo namin,” said Galanza. Paat reiterated Galanza’s sentiment, saying that this was probably their biggest win of the season.

The pair also acknowledged the success of past Adamson teams and the pressure it generates for them to just as well if not better. Senior Lady Falcons, Sheila Pineda, Pau Soriano, Amanda Villanueva, and Len Cortel have either brought Adamson a championship or have got close to one.

“Siyempre po idol ko ‘yung mga ‘yun. Kaya ako po, gusto ko din madala ‘yung Adamson kung saan nila nadala – kung sa Finals ba o sa Final Four, tatrabahuhin na lang po namin,” Galanza expressed. “May pressure po talaga kung iisipin ko ‘yung nagawa ng mga ate naman. Sa akin, kailangan namin ma-beat o madugtungan ‘yung mga nagwa namin,” Paat told adding that she Gemma trained almost every day for the past few weeks.

UST rebounded later in the day, making quick work of a young NU pair. But, talking to Tiebreaker Times after the win, it was obvious their previous loss still stung.

According to Rondina, many factors went into their loss, mostly mental. “Sa akin lang po, nanibago ako dun sa court, hindi naman po kami parati dito nagtitraining. May halo na ‘rin pong kaba,” Rondina recalled adding that the mental stress of UST’s prelims week still hasn’t worn off. “Parang halo-halo ‘yung iniisip namin. Parang pumpasok sa isip namin na baka bumagsak kami dahil naglalaro kami.”

Rivera added that she was caught off her usual pregame rhythm. “Kanina po kasi na-stuck kami sa may Osmeña [highway]. Kaya pagdating po namin dito, lahat po minamadali – ‘yung stretching, warm up, kaya nahirapan po ako,” Rivera said. Rica also played through severe abdominal pain throughout the day.

The Tomasinas, however, remain confident that they can retain their championship form even with every team seemingly stepping up their preparation. “Ibibigay po namin ‘yung lahat namin. Confident pa rin naman kami kasi halos lahat ng elite players sa Philippines nakalaban na namin. Iisa-isahin po namin ‘yung approach sa mga kalaban dito [UAAP],” Rivera said.

Both players are also hopeful that a good showing on the sand courts can secure their spot on the indoor team. “Itong first semester po talaga nilalaan po namin sa paghahanda para sa beach volley. Nakalaan naman po talaga kami para sa beach. Pero darating naman po siguro ‘yung time namin sa indoor lalo na kung maganda ilaro namin,” said Rondina.

“Sobrang motivated ko po ngayon makalaro sa indoor. Gusto ko po talaga ipakita na handa na ‘yung katawan ko kahit galing ako sa injury, confident na po ako sa ilalaro ko,” Rivera explained. Rica injured her right knee last year, a week before the indoor volleyball season, causing her to miss the entire season.

For a schedule of UST and AdU’s remaining games, click here.


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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