Undefeated Adamson University escaped with a thrilling, 21-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-14, 15-8, victory against Far Eastern University to draw first blood in the best-of-three inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference semifinals series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Wednesday.
The Lady Falcons relied on their complete team effort to fill in the gap left by injured Adamson ace Jema Galanza and extend their winning streak to six.
Protecting an 11-8 lead in the fifth set, Adamson capitalized on the Lady Tamaraws' crucial rotation error to spark the closing 4-0 blitz.
"We did the same thing that we did in the last game. Without Jema out there, there's so much that out team is lacking. First set I put Eli (Soyud) in Jema's spot and (Bernadette) Flora as the opposite. It's just a learning adjustment for me as a coach you make this decisions and you think it's gonna click but Eli's home is at the opposite and I think when we switched it up she started coming alive," said Adamson coach Air Padda.
"I told them in the locker room today, 'I don't think anyone had to play amazing for us to win. It was really about the team effort, inspiring each other to be better, motivating each other and help each other to succeed,'" she added. "I think that's how we won. I think it's a total team effort."
Adamson can seal the series on Saturday. Game 3, if needed, is on Monday.
Eli Soyud led the Lady Falcons' assault with 18 attacks, four kill blocks and an ace for a 23-point outing while Bernadette Flora and senior high Chiara Permentilla added 14 each, giving Adamson the much-needed firepower after Galanza went down with a tournament-ending right ankle injury.
Joy Dacoron was a monster at the net with five kill blocks in her 12-point output for the Lady Falcons while Fenela Emnas orchestrated their fluid offense with 45 excellent sets in Adamson's 56 attack points.
The Lady Falcons raced to an 8-5 lead in the fifth set to set the tempo. The Lady Tamaraws tried to keep pace as they stayed withing striking distance, 11-8.
A crucial rotation error in the next play became the beginning of FEU's demise as Soyud scored on an attack at the middle, Flora pounded a quick hit on the Lady Tams' misreception to move at match point, 14-8. Jerrili Malabanan surrendered the series opener with a hit that went long.
Toni Rose Basas had 17 points while Jeannette Villareal finished with 13 for FEU.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.