The Adamson University Lady Falcons pulled off a come-from-behind five-set stunner against UAAP Season 85 gold medalists De La Salle University Lady Spikers in Game 1 of the Shakey’s Super League National Invitationals Finals at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan, yesterday.
The hard-earned win propelled Adamson closer to the SSL title, but the road to complete the fightback was anything but smooth.
When the Lady Falcons stared at an 11-20 deficit in the fourth set, their chances of forcing a decider started to look dim. Fortunately, they had their team captain to steer the ship amidst the storm.
Skipper Lucille Almonte, who poured in 24 big points in the tight contest, kept the San Marcelino-based squad afloat and carried much of the load during her team’s 11-1 rally to steal the set and extend the match to a fifth.
More than her scoring, Almonte displayed leadership as she held her team together until the game was over.
“Paulit-ulit kong sinasabi sa kanila na kapitan namin and hangga’t hindi pa natatapos yung game, huwag naming sukuan and then always na nireremind ko sila na every point kailangan nating paghirapan,” Almonte said.
With the crowd getting involved in the nerve-wracking fifth set, the 5’8 open hitter shared that she told her teammates to tune out the noise and keep their heads in the match.
“I always reminded them na wag nilang pansinin yung crowd kasi hindi naman sila yung naglalaro sa loob. Kami yung may control sa loob and then focus lang talaga sa game.”
Her composure definitely spread on the rest of the Lady Falcons, especially on rookies Red Bascon and Juris Manuel. Bascon delivered the killer blows, while UAAP Season 85 Juniors Best Libero Manuel showed steadiness on the defensive end in the last two sets.
“I’m so happy kasi hindi ko nararamdaman na rookies sila. I feel like para na rin silang seniors kasi every time I demand, sumusunod sila. Hindi sila mahirap pagsabihan,” the Kings’ Montessori School standout marveled.
Heading to Game 2 on Saturday, Almonte mentioned that the job is far from over so Adamson must go back to the drawing board and work on their first game miscues.
“Mas tiyagain pa namin kasi we all know na marami pa kaming lapses so kailangan naming pagtrabahuhin and then double hard work talaga. Lalaban talaga kami hanggang dulo.”