Lady Tams edge Falcons, force ‘rubber’

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Far Eastern U pounced on Adamson’s two costly miscues in the stretch to wrest control then leaned on Toni Rose Basas’ strong finish to pound out a 21-25, 27-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-11 victory and force a sudden death for the other final berth in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference in San Juan on Saturday.

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Basas atoned for an earlier wild hit with two drop balls that finished off the Lady Falcons and made up for their 21-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-14, 15-7 setback in the opener of their best-of-three semifinal series last Wednesday.

They dispute the coveted berth in Game 3 tomorrow, also at the Filoil Flying V Center.

Unbeaten National U and Arellano were disputing the other finals slot at presstime.

“We were overwhelmed by this win. We really prepared hard for this game since we want to get into the finals,” said FEU coach George Pascua.

“We just followed coach Pascua’s instructions,” said Carandang, who topscored for FEU with 20 hits.

Basas finished with 16 while Jeanette Villareal added 10 hits for the Lady Tams, who pulled off the win despite losing their spiking duel, 52-61.

The Lady Tams blew a 2-1 set lead and a 21-19 advantage in the fourth as the Lady Falcons racked up six of the last six points to force a decider, a back-and-forth match that has marked the two teams’ faceoffs in the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.

But after Adamson scored on back-to-back hits to force a 9-all count in the fifth, the Lady Falcons succumbed with a net violation and a poor first ball, which the Lady Tams used as a springboard to clinch the win and deal the San Marcelino-based squad its first loss in the tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics.

A Basas hit and Czarina Carandang’s block against Christine Soyud gave FEU a huge 13-9 lead. And after Basas yielded a point on an attack error, the veteran FEU hitter knocked down two drop shots against a Soyud hit to wrap up the tough victory.

The Lady Tams actually scored on a series of drop balls throughout the match as the Lady Falcons struggled with their coverage. Adamson’s charge also suffered a snag after libero Jellie Tempiatura tweaked her ankle early in the fifth set and had to be carried by AdU coach Airess Padda.

Earlier, Far Eastern U pulled off another five-setter of a thriller over National U, 25-14, 16-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-12, to clinch the first finals berths in the men’s division of the country’s premier league.

But erstwhile unbeaten Ateneo fell in ambush as UST pounced on ace hitter Marck Espejo and skipper Karl Baysa’s absence to pound out a 25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21 decision in the other semifinal match.

Joshua Umandal fired 23 hits while Arnold Bautista and Manuel Medina combined for 29 points as the Tigers bounced back from their Game One 19-25, 15-25, 21-25 defeat to hand the Eagles their first-ever loss in the conference and force a sudden death for the right to face the Tams for the championship.

They clash again tomorrow.

Espejo, who has led the Eagles’ romp with his power and class, and Baysa didn’t see action to lead Ateneo in the UAAP beach volley tournament, also held yesterday.

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