Adamson takes fight to La Salle, seizes Game 1 of Shakey’s finals
These Lady Falcons never give up.
Skipper Lucille Almonte and rookie Red Bascon performed a whirlwind rescue job as Adamson battles back from a nine-point deficit in the fourth set to hammer out a come-from-behind 22-25, 25-17, 17-25, 27-25, 16-14 victory over UAAP champion La Salle and inch closer to Shakey’s Super League National Invitational supremacy on Wednesday at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Almonte, who was all over the court for the Lady Falcons, finished with 24 points and sparked her team’s rally from an 11-20 deficit to force a deciding fifth set as Bascon put on the finishing touches in the last two frames to tally seven points from the bench and hand the Lady Spikers their first loss of the tournament in Game 1 of the best-of-three series.
“I always encouraged them especially in the fourth set when the score was 11-20,” said Adamson rookie coach JP Yude. “I told them the game wasn’t over yet and asked them to fight one point at a time. I think they absorbed the message that we should fix our body language because the game wasn’t over yet.”
“I told them that maybe before, when you face La Salle, you’re an underdog right away. We want to change that. We need to be willing to fight and have the desire to win.”
The victory took on a little color late in the game.
Adamson took a 13-10 lead in the decider after back-to-back hits from Almonte but La Salle scored three straight points ignited by Shevana Laput’s block on Almonte to tie the set. Angelica Alcantara nailed a clutch 1-2 play to put the Lady Falcons at match point, 14-13, only for Laput to force a deuce.
Bascon, who only started in the fifth set, drilled an off-the-block attack that regained the advantage for Adamson but La Salle contested the call and the referees slapped a yellow card on Micah Larroza, much to the displeasure of the Lady Spikers’ fans, who booed loudly at match officials.
The rookie out of Adamson high school stayed composed and delivered the game-winning kill to end the two-hour and 34-minute match as the Lady Falcons try to close out the series in Game 2 on Saturday at 4 p.m.
In the first game, a heartbreak was erased and University of Santo Tomas (UST) moved closer to a redeeming bronze medal after dominating University of Perpetual Help, 25-15, 25-22. 25-15.
And the rebuilding Tigresses have their own rookie to partly thank for their opening win in the race-to-two affair.
Rookie Angeline Poyos, who had 29 points in UST’s 22-25, 25-18, 14-25, 26-24, 26-24 semifinal hearbreaker against La Salle last week, had 13 points on Wednesday to sustain her fine play in the tournament. T
he 19-year-old spiker said she is merely repaying the trust shown by coach KungFu Reyes, who is pinning his hopes on a new core of young guns, led by Poyos, to fill in the void opened up by the exits of by back-to-back UAAP top scorer Laure, Imee Hernandez, and Milena Alessandrini.
“Coach said he will never lose faith in us,” Poyos said in Filipino. “So for us players, we don’t want to let him down. We lost our seniors like ate Eya. So in my part, I have to perform [well] even if I am still a rookie.”
Poyos provided solid backup to Regina Jurado, who led UST with 19 points against Perpetual, including 10 in the final set. “This is a good indication for our team. They may be young but promising as individuals and as a group,” Reyes said.
“Although we lost a lot of seniors, our team never became weak because ever since, regardless of who the players are, they are working hard to make a name for themselves in front of the fans here in the collegiate ranks.”
Mary Banagua and Xyza Gula also stepped up with 10 points each with Cassie Carballo pacing the team plays and libero Detdet Pepito protecting the floor.