FEU and Adamson closed out their UAAP Season 79 campaigns with very different stories.
The Lady Tamaraws led by the troika of Palma, Basas and Pons secured a spot in the semis before bowing down to then the runners up, AdMU Lady Eagles in a four tight and gruelling sets.
On the other hand, the struggling AdU Lady Falcons found a glimpse of hope by ending their campaign on a high note with a win at the expense of the UE Lady Warriors to grab the 7th spot.
Since then, the number of changes within both squads is noticeable; the departure of the Remy Palma and the replacement of Coach George for Coach Shaq on the FEU side and the addition of Permentilla and Soyud, and the re-entry of Emnas to the Adamson line up.
Now as their paths cross again, can the veteran – laden FEU Lady Tamaraws easily book its ticket to the PVL Collegiate Conference Finals or will the young and rebuilding Lady Falcons taste its first Finals appearance? We take a look at the match up.
FEU Lady Tamaraws (4 – 1)
Mantra to win: Hard services and less errors
X – Factor: Gel Cayuna & Kyle Negrito
Key Player: ChinChin Basas
Despite the departure of Remy Palma, the Lady Tamaraw’s core remains rock solid. Having Basas, Malabanan, Guinoo and Agudo swinging in the wings and the Duremdes-Atienza duo manning the backline, they seem to be a tough team to crack on paper. Already considered a title contender for this UAAP Season 80, a lot of pressure is on their side.
FEU’s Survival Kit
They may be a strong team on paper, but FEU usually start slow. In their last outing against LPU, the Lady Tams had an awful start trailing by as much as 11 in the opening set before finding their rhythm and coasting to grab the next three sets to seal their ride to the semis.
Should they want to win against the Lady Falcons, they need to lessen their errors and strengthen their floor and net defense. Also, despite having the depth and the firepower in their line-up generally what is lacking is the ability of their playmakers to play the tempo at the get go.
Changing from Cayuna to Negrito is like a pasta experiment for Coach George – which one will be the one to stick! We all know that setters are the coach on the court, so one of them must step up and take responsibility.
Building the great wall of Morayta
A big void has to be filled with the departure of their power Middle, Palma. Once FEU were in front, she would create a wall to be reckoned with. On top of that, her mind games also created an intimidation factor for the opponents causing them to lose focus. In order for the Lady Tams to outsmart the Lady Falcons, they need to run their middles – Villareal, Carandang and Domingo must step up in both offense and defense to let their setters run their plays effectively.
Response to a missing Pons
Like Jema absence for the Lady Falcons, the Lady Tams will be missing the service of Bernadeth Pons as she will be focusing for the incoming beach volleyball tournament. Providing the needed firepower and the go to girl responsibility during clutch plays, her team mates like Malabanan and Guino-o must step up to fill her spot.
Adamson Lady Falcons (5 – 0)
Mantra to win: A solid floor and net defense
X-Factor: Joy Dacoron
Key Player: Eli Soyud
Bound with lower expectations this tournament, the Lady Falcons have proved to everyone that they are the team to watch out for this UAAP season. For a team that is rebuilding they quickly emerged as the team to beat in the PVL Collegiate Conference, ending the elimination round unscathed with a 5-0 win/loss record.
AdU’s Survival Kit
Galanza out, [insert name] in
It was very apparent in their last game against San Beda that Adamson are missing the service of Jema Galanza; a two – way player that can produce triple-double statistics in a game can definitely be hard to replace in the rotation.
In order for them to negate the barrage of attacks from FEU, someone must need to step up to aid Soyud in the scoring chores when she is at the back-row. Moreover, it will also lessen Fem’s task on deciding where to set the ball. The likes of Flora, Permentilla and Dacoron could spell a huge difference if they can become a 3 headed scoring monster keeping the opponents guessing.
The re-entry of Fem in the lineup drastically changed the whole complexion of Adamson’s team. Her maturity in the court and experience playing with foreign stars in the last PVL Reinforced Conference, Emnas will definitely a factor in this series.
One thing worth noticing is that she has evolved her ball distribution. She is so stubborn that she continually tries to look for the best option even if she has received a decent first ball, a skill that Jia perfectly mastered. Her aggressiveness and her stubbornness could make or break the Lady Falcons in this series.
Composure during clutch plays
Being the less experienced team, AdU must be calm during the storm especially given that FEU can attack in so many different ways. Whether they can leverage the leadership of Fem and Joy to guide the team through these periods, is a whole different story.
In the end, stat sheets don’t matter anymore, it will boil down to heart, something that is impossible to measure. The team that can show a lot of it will win the semi-final. It could be either the experienced Lady Tams or the up and coming Lady Falcons.
However, I am predicting FEU to win in 5!