Adamson ends Final Four drought and washes away last season’s pain
Lucille Almonte saw the prospect of playing in a Final Four atmosphere wither away last season when the Adamson Lady Falcons fought hard but fell heartbreakingly short of advancing.
Now that the team has redeemed itself, Almonte said they will make the most of the opportunity.
“We weren’t able to accomplish this last season. So this time, we will make sure that we will give everything we have,’’ Almonte said after Adamson returned to the semifinals for the first time in nine seasons.
The Lady Falcons encountered a few tense moments before wrapping up a 25-20, 27-25, 23-25, 25-15 over University of the Philippines (UP) on Saturday to seal a spot in the next round of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament. Now, they can shift their focus to the next target.
“Our immediate goal this season was to enter the Final Four. Now that we are here, we will do the best we can to hopefully advance to the championship and win it,’’ said Almonte, who helped the Lady Falcons ride the UP tempest with 13 attacks, 20 digs and 10 receptions.
“We will not stop here. There are more games to be played,’’ added Almonte.
For the elimination round, Adamson will have one game remaining and the team has an outside shot at a key Final Four edge.
“Our realistic goal is to be in the Final Four. On the twice-to-beat, we’ll see where our ranking will take us. Regardless, we have to play our best in the final game [of the eliminations],’’ said Adamson assistant coach Rald Ricafort.
La Salle (11-1, win-loss) has the inside track at a twice-to-beat protection while Adamson will have to wait for the final standings of National University (9-3) and idling University of Santo Tomas (8-3).
The Lady Bulldogs also clinched a semifinal booking after trouncing winless University of the East (UE), 25-5, 25-15, 25-13, in the other game at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Bella Belen showed no mercy on the way to 21 points, including 13 attacks. She had six aces out of her team’s 13 and added two blocks in a dominating win that drove the Lady Bulldogs back to the semifinals.
The Lady Bulldogs unloaded 34 attacks against UE’s 17 while posting nine blocks compared to the one deflection that the winless Lady Warriors made in their 12th straight defeat of the season.
The show of domination by the Lady Bulldogs showed how much ground the Lady Falcons need to cover with the semifinals approaching.
“We have to work on our mental approach going into the semifinals. For me, there are more adjustments to make and more things to learn, so that my rookie year won’t be wasted,’’ said Trisha Tubu after the Lady Falcons bounced back from a stinging defeat against La Salle.
Tubu and Lorence Toring had 11 points each as Louie Romero lobbed 23 excellent sets to activate the Lady Falcons’ scorers.
Adamson will have time to fine-tune its game before the semifinals as it will close out its schedule against Far Eastern University.
And one of the things the Lady Falcons will need to work on is how to close out an opponent already on the ropes.
Adamson was on the verge of blanking UP when the Lady Falcons held the door open for their foes in the third set.
“We became complacent [in the third set]. It’s a mental thing. We can go far if we remove the tendency to be complacent,’’ said Ricafort.