Matchpoint: It’s Now or Never

With only three play dates left in the elimination round, expect the remaining games of the UAAP Women’s volleyball wars to be a bloodbath.

After a grueling weekend, the UAAP women’s volleyball wars resume Wednesday afternoon. Two teams are aiming to solidify their chances for the twice-to-beat advantage while one team tries to keep its season alive.

The focus would be on backs-against-the-wall Adamson Lady Falcons. The San Marcelino-based crew will take on league leader La Salle and is looking to duplicate their first round upset to stay in contention for the last final four spot.

Meanwhile, the FEU Lady Tamaraws will bring its momentum from their five-set win last Saturday when they take on also-ran University of the East lady Warriors.

With a big prize at stake in today’s games, FOX Sports PH looks back on their previous meeting and breaks down the keys to winning when they lock horns this afternoon.

Set scores: 25-18, 15-25, 25-19, 25-22
Winner: Adamson
Best Players:
Eli Soyud – 18 points
Majoy Baron – 13 points

The Lady Falcons played the game of their lives in their upset win over the Lady Spikers in the first round.

From the opening salvo, a different Adamson squad showed early as they neutralized La Salle’s fast tempo with aggressive net defense. The Lady Falcons went on to give the opposition a taste of their own medicine after they outblocked DLSU, 13-6.

Adamson clearly came prepared for the match and their game plan against a powerhouse team they have yet to beat in a decade was simply working to their favor. They dominated La Salle in terms of attacks, recording 46 kills compared to 41, while veteran setter Fhen Emnas outperformed Michelle Cobb on excellent sets, 43-29.

Meanwhile, DLSU relied to graduating player Majoy Baron who chipped in 13 points while Desiree Cheng contributed 10 points. That loss gave birth to the infamous “larong barangay” of La Salle as Coach Ramil De Jesus rued on his wards’ subpar outing.

Prior to their second meeting, Adamson has to take inspiration from their big win in the first round. They should follow the same game plan that shattered La Salle’s cloak of invincibility. Eli Soyud should muster another brilliant performance against her former team as Jema Galanza and Mylene Paat will need a major back up in scoring.

More importantly, the Lady Falcons must not repeat their mistakes in their previous losses against FEU and Ateneo. Should they take a set lead versus DLSU, Adamson needs to close the match as early as possible to avoid another collapse.

On the DLSU side, the Lady Spikers are surely itching to score a revenge against their first round tormentor. The Taft-based squad should keep their momentum from their unbeaten run in the second round coming to today’s match. And this time, fifth year player Kim Dy should come alive and help Cheng and Baron in the offensive end.

Sets scores: 25-20, 25-17, 24-26, 25-22
Winner: FEU
Best Players:
Bernadette Pons: 21 points
Mean Mendrez: 21 points

The Lady Warriors gave Lady Tamaraws a scare in their first round match. This afternoon, the same storyline may rise as UE would not go down without a fight.

FEU bucked a slow start back in February 24 to notch its first back-to-back win at the expense of vastly-improved Lady Warriors. Bernadette Pons led the charge as usual for the Morayta-based squad as she had a triple double performance on 21 points, 24 digs, and 16 receptions.

FEU’s team captain received the much-need support from other Lady Tamaraws as Ced Domingo fired 19 points while Chin chin Basas and Heather Guino-o combined for 12 points.

Meanwhile, the Lady Warriors looked rejuvenated under new mentor, Rod Roque. It was when the interim coach stepped in for Francis Vicente that the Lady Warriors discovered that they are a dangerous squad.

Shaya Adorador and Meanne Mendrez finished with 18 and 21 markers respectively while libero Kat Arado dished out 40 digs and 15 excellent receptions.

But giving a scare would not be enough as UE has to deny FEU to play the spoiler role in today’s doubleheader. Judith Abil, Seth Rodriguez, and Sel Baliton should make ample contribution in the team’s offense as Medrez and Adorador could not do it alone. UE should also capitalize on FEU’s unforced errors and take advantage when Pons is on the backline.

On the other hand, the Lady Tamaraws cannot afford to give their opponent 40+ free points from their unforced errors. If FEU wants to win this in straight sets, they need a strong start to build an early lead against a dangerous UE squad.

Can DLSU and FEU seals the twice-to-beat incentive? Will Adamson live another day? Or can UE spoil the final four cast? It’s now or never.