Heartbreaks? Not this time.
The Lady Spikers made it to the finals as expected via a 16-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22 victory over Adamson today. They will have a shot to defend their crown as they go up against the UST Tigresses, who in the succeeding semis match scored a straight set win over Ateneo. The best of three championship series starts Wednesday at 4pm in the San Juan Arena.
The team started off sluggishly. The Lady Falcons showed a lot of grit and determination as the combination of Pau Soriano, Angela Benting and Jill Gustillo took the Lady Spikers off their rhythm. As Coach Ramil noted between the first and second sets, they looked like they were still asleep. The Lady Spikers sleepwalked through the first set against the desperate Adamson team, often a step late in their floor defense and committing 9 unforced errors, which was the margin at the end of the first set. The team’s timing seemed a bit off, and during a timeout Coach Ramil calmly advised them to take their time. However, Adamson rode on the momentum to take the first set.
But just like the defending champions that they are, the Lady Spikers ratcheted up their intensity in the second set to take it handily via the same score, cutting down on the unforced errors and paying attention to their defensive marking. In the third set, Adamson frantically scrambled and scraped to stay with our team up to 24-22, before Abi Marano closed it off with a spike to the back row.
It was more of the same in the fourth set, with Adamson desperately chasing all balls to stay within striking distance. Cha Cruz shook off her shaky showing in the last game by scoring several points, including the clincher at 24-22.
Today, the team appeared a bit cautious and were not as fluid in their attacks, perhaps looking to cut down on their errors, but consequently their attacks were not as decisive. Count Adamson’s league-best floor defense into the equation, and it was a formula for a tight game. Perhaps the loss of the first set was the wake up call the team needed, because their league-leading blocking reasserted itself to frustrate the Adamson net attacks. Despite the closeness of the score, the Lady Spikers showed their experience and confidence to close out the last 2 sets and slam the door on Adamson’s hopes to stay alive in this year’s tournament.
Jacq Alarca was named best player of the game. When asked which team they would prefer to meet in the finals, she stated without hesitation that the team wants to face UST, the only team to deal them a loss.
With reports by Catherine Lourdes G Malvar