ADAMSON University recovered from a sluggish start to turn back erstwhile unbeaten Arellano University, 17-25, 24-26, 25-14, 25-19, 15-11, and clinch the second quarterfinal berth in Group A in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference at The Arena in San Juan City yesterday.
Relievers Amanda Maria Villanueva and Ma. Erika Gel Alkuino stepped up for starters Mylene Paat and Marleen Cortel and provided key hits in the last three sets that helped the Lady Falcons claw from two sets down to steal the win and join their victims in the round of eight.
“I have to give it to the Villanueva and Alkuino, they really stepped up big for us,” said Adamson coach Sherwin Meneses.
Villanueva made nine hits while Alkuino added two markers and came up with several hustle plays.
The Lady Falcons racked up six of the last eight points in a back-and-forth fifth set to cap their mighty comeback and nail their third straight victory after dropping a four-setter to the UAAP champions Ateneo Lady Eagles in their opening match.
The Lady Chiefs, who gained the first seat in the Last 8 phase with a sweep of their first four games, thus closed out the group stage with a 4-1 win-loss record.
Adamson plays its last match in the group stage on April 27 against St. Benilde.
Shiela Pineda fired 17 kills and had two blocks and two service aces, Pau Soriano had a solid 18-hit performance and Thai guest player Pacharee Sangmuang backed them up with 15 markers.
Pineda and Sangmuang also shone in defense, combining for 28 of the team’s 50 excellent digs while Amanda Villanueva chipped in nine hits and Mylene Paat, Jennifer Macatuno, Marleen Cortel and Erika Alkuino pooled 10 points among themselves.
Arellano had more blocks, 11-8, and aces, 8-6, than Adamson and was ahead in non-scoring skills, 38-36, in sets and 35-31 in reception. But the Lady Falcons asserted their might with 59 kills, 10 more than the Lady Chiefs.
Danna Henson matched Pineda’s 21-hit production while Menchie Tubiera, Cristine Joy Rosario and Elaine Sagun added 17, 10 and nine hits for Arellano, which nevertheless remained on top of their group heading to the next round of the tournament backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil.
After sweeping the first two sets behind their stonewall net defense and solid reception, the Lady Chiefs succumbed to the Lady Falcons’ sustained attacks behind Pineda, Soriano and Sangmuang.
"We just lost it after the first two sets," said Arellano mentor Obet Javier.
The Adamson-Arellano clash will be aired Friday on GMA News TV Channel starting at 1 p.m., while the NU-FEU match will be shown Monday.