Trisha Genesis fired 21 points but it was rookie Lucille Almonte who starred at crunch time to power Adamson University to a 23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 21-25, 15-11, victory over University of Sto. Tomas to move closer to claiming the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference crown on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Lady Falcons drew first blood in the best-of-three series behind sophomore Genesis, Almonte and Ceasa Pinar’s explosive offense while freshman Lorene Toring anchored Adamson’s solid defense at the net.
Almonte scored all of the Falcons’ last three points in the deciding frame to stave off the Tigresses' late rally.
Head coach Lerma Giron praised the composure and heart of her young wards.
“’Yung mental toughness tsaka yung dibdib nila yung puso nila handang lumaban,” said Giron. “Nakita ko doon talagang nu’ng fifth set, konti na lang ‘yung interference ng coach sabi ko sa kanila, they’re the one who will decide kung mananalo sila o hindi.”
“Maganda yung response nila talagang nag-decide sila sa sarili nila talagang bawat bola na binibitawan nila nilalagay nila sa tamang pwesto,” she added.
Game 2 of the Finals is on Saturday.
Genesis accounted for 19 of the Lady Falcons’ 58 attack points and added 16 digs and 20 excellent receives for an all-around performance. Pinar got 16 markers while Toring, who had seven of the team’s 13 kill blocks, and Almonte, who had 14 kills, scored 15 points each for Adamson, which got 33 excellent sets from freshman setter Louie Romero.
The Lady Falcons built a 12-8 separation in the fifth set before yielding two straight points off errors as the Tigreses closed in 12-10. Almonte answered with back-to-back hits to push Adamson at match point before EJ Laure scored on an off speed to save a point for UST.
Almonte then made sure that the Tigresses won’t pull off a comeback as she dealt UST the final blow on a crosscourt hit.
Eya Laure had 19 points with 16 coming off attacks and three kill blocks in an outing she laced with 25 digs for the Tigresses. Rookie Imee Hernandez and EJ Laure had 15 markers each for UST, which forced the decider with a 4-0 closing run to break a 21-21 deadlock in the fourth frame.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.