Far Eastern U and Arellano U hope to use the two-day break to toughen up and make the necessary adjustments as they seek to stop Adamson and National U, respectively, and force a pair of sudden deaths in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Final Four.
The Lady Tams blew a 2-1 set lead, lost steam in the stretch and dropped a 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 14-25, 8-15 decision to the Lady Falcons late Wednesday but vowed to strike back in Game Two of their best-of-three semifinal series tomorrow.
Despite playing without top hitter Bernadeth Pons, the Morayta-based squad still took control after three sets but suddenly groped for form in the fourth, enabling the Lady Falcons to come back before sustaining their momentum in the decider.
FEU actually kept it close in the fifth but failed to neutralize Adamson’s strong finishing kick on anchored on Mary Joy Dacoron, Bernadette Flora, Christine Soyud and Chiara Permentilla.
The Lady Tams also fell into a maze of errors in the clutch, including a rotation error that fueled the Lady Falcons’ decisive closing 4-0 binge.
But FEU coach George Pascua is confident his veteran players will redeem themselves in the next outing with the Lady Tams also hoping to pounce on the absence of injured Adamson ace Jema Galanza.
The Lady Chiefs, on the other hand, also seek to find ways to contain Jaja Santiago, who fired 24 hits in power the Lady Bulldogs to a convincing 25-17, 25-16, 25-23 win in their side of the semis of the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Asics.
“We weren’t able to solve Jaja and the girls were a bit intimidated by her,” said Arellano U mentor Obet Javier. “But I always tell them that through practice, we could handle her (Santiago) and get back into the series.”
Javier also rued his wards’ poor reception and first ball that hampered their offense. The Lady Chiefs tallied only 26 kills in 109 attempts.
In contrast, with Santiago on the firing end, the Lady Bulldogs produced 45 spikes from 118 tries while reasserting their might on the net with eight blocks, six more than their rivals.
Victories by FEU and Arellano will force a pair of rubber matches on Monday.
Meanwhile, unbeaten Ateneo sets out for a finals stint as it guns for a sweep of UST in their own side of the semis in the men’s tournament of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.
FEU, on the other hand, braces for a National U fightback in the other Final Four duel.
The Eagles thumped the Tigers, 25-19, 25-15, 25-21, while the Tams pulled off an escape over the Bulldogs, 25-22, 19-25, 19-25, 25-22, 16-14, last Wednesday.
Games tomorrow (Saturday)
8 a.m. – FEU vs NU (men’s)
10 a.m. – UST vs ADMU
4 p.m. – FEU vs AdU (women’s)
6:30 p.m. – NU vs AU