By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Adamson Lady Falcons just picked up one of their biggest off-season victories after stunning the mighty De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers in Game 1 of the Shakey’s Super League (SSL) National Invitationals grand finals last August 9, 2023, held at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
Adamson hacked out a thrilling come-from-behind five-set victory over the reigning UAAP queens, 22-25, 25-17, 17-25, 27-25, 16-14, and is only a win away from clinching the SSL championship title.
After dropping the first set, the resilient Lady Falcons went off to a strong start in the second set and build its largest lead to eight points courtesy of their offensive adjustments.
The Lady Spikers had an easy time reading their attacks during their loss in the first set but soon as they countered with quicker spikes, Adamson began to roll and waxed hot to equalize the match.
Lucille Almonte spearheaded Adamson’s second-set rally and was cleverer with her outside spikes, finding the angles to evade DLSU’s long middle blockers.
Just when the Lady Falcons thought they could steamroll their way and sustain their firepower, the Lady Spikers mentored by head coach Ramil de Jesus devised their own ways how to negate Adamson’s flying spikes.
De Jesus deployed a tall lineup in the third set for more defensive stability which paid off dividends as the duo of Shevana Laput and Thea Gagate hosted a blocking party for DLSU.
Adamson retaliated in the next set after scoring three-straight crucial hits in the final five possessions to force a deciding fifth frame.
The Lady Spikers started slow in the fifth set but after Alleiah Malaluan took over, DLSU managed to equalize the match at 9-all.
Needing someone to step up for the Lady Falcons, Almonte answered the call and helped Adamson take a 13-10 lead with her timely spikes.
DLSU countered with four-straight points to tie the game again at 13-all but in the end, Adamson was able to steal the win after a point and a crucial error from the Lady Spikers.
Almonte was the Best Player of the Game after tallying 24 big points for Adamson backstopped by Ayesha Juegos who added 13 markers.
The Lady Spikers will look to force a deciding Game 3 if they win Game 2 scheduled on August 12, 2023.