UAAP Season 81 in review: Adamson Lady Falcons

Optimism rose among the Adamson faithful when new head coach Rogelio Getigan led the Lady Falcons to victory over the NU Lady Bulldogs in straight. It was the break that they were waiting for after dropping their first three games under then-mentor Air Padda.

But the San Marcelino crew remain grounded after that brief moment of glory. They dropped their next nine matches including a bitter five-set loss against the FEU Lady Tamaraws. However, vindication is due after finishing Season 81 with a triumph over the UP Lady Maroons.

A year ago, the Lady Falcons were Final Four hopefuls that just missed by a game. How could have it turned into a disaster after one season?

One can argue that Adamson had Mylene Paat, Fenela Emnas, and Jema Galanza in Season 80. But this year’s spiking core of Bernadette Flora, Eli Soyud, Chiara Permentilla, and Joy Dacoron could have given other UAAP squads a run for their money.

However, they just couldn’t shake off the mistakes they have continually committed. Aside from the attack errors, the setting by MJ Igao and Nikka Yandoc has been average at best. The inexperience of the rookie setters showed as Igao is one of the leaders in setting faults. Meanwhile, Yandoc hasn’t been much of an upgrade as well.

More uncertainty looms as they would need to fill the void left by graduates Dacoron and Soyud. But despite the concerns they need to address, there have been bright spots in this rather forgettable season.

It starts with Ponce

Thang Ponce has been the stabilizing force of the Adamson floor defense. She is the second-best digger with 6.87 per set and the fourth-best receiver with a 44.09% efficiency. Eye test alone would tell you that she is one of the best defensive specialists in the league.

That’s one less position that Coach Getigan won’t have a concern about as he works on improving their setting and transitions during the second ball. With Kath Arado finishing her collegiate career, Ponce would be a leading candidate for Best Libero together with Buding Duremdes and Jennifer Nierva.

Likewise, Ponce and Bernadette Flora gives Adamson two solid receivers. They would need one more player with that skill set, though, especially when the libero is subbed out.

More players landing in the Falcon’s nest

Getigan might find that player in the next batch of players that will represent the school. Adjustments won’t be a concern for they have been under Getigan’s wing at Kings Montessori School in Quezon City.

Louie Romero can give Igao and Yandoc a run for their money at setter. Meanwhile, Lucille Mae Almonte and Rizza Andrea Cruz can inject firepower to the Adamson offense. Cae Lazo will be Ponce’s heir apparent at libero.

If these young but talented players can replicate the championship success they’ve had at KMS, the Lady Falcons will be in good hands. But the UAAP is a different beast and it would take time for them to mature. When growing pains prevail, Adamson’s agony may extend.