ADAMSON-Akari head coach Air Padda is hoping for a strong showing from the Lady Falcons when they begin their second-round campaign against Iriga-Navy Lady Oragons in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference on Saturday at the Arena in San Juan City.
After losing all their first seven games in the first round, the Lady Falcons try to move on and hope for a better round ahead of their match against the Lady Oragons at 4 p.m.
“I’m looking forward to starting on a strong note,” said Padda after falling short in five sets in their first round duel with Iriga-Navy last week. “Like I said I think we ended the first round playing better, we just need to build on it. I think we can win games in the second round but everyone else got better too so I don’t know.”
Padda, however, couldn’t hide her frustrations on the Lady Falcons’ turnaround from sweeping the seven-game elimination round in the previous Collegiate Conference turning into a 0-7 team at the end of the first round of Open Conference.
“Disappointing. I don’t think we started the conference that strong. I feel like they were so on a high a little bit from our last conference finish. I don’t think they were mentally prepared to face a strong conference like this one,” she said. “It is a big turnaround. I don’t know, I think I have to look at it two ways. I have to look at it as this conference is a little bit stronger than our last conference but I feel like mentally sometimes they go into these games and they don’t think they will win.”
“I think half the battle we’re facing right now is them having confidence to actually believe that we can win even though we’re not complete and we’re not at our strongest and then half of it is doing the hard work,” she added.
Another blow for the Lady Falcons is the key injured players Eli Soyud (knee), Trisha Genesis (ankle) and Lea Perez (shoulder) are still uncertain to return in the second round.
That’s why Padda is reducing her expectations and focusing in winning a game first.
“I’m at a difficult spot right now. I’m trying to think of realistic goal for our team,” she said. “Coming into the conference they said Final Four but I’m like, ‘you can’t just throw goals out there that you don’t think we’ll ever gonna reach. Like you need a plan. A goal without a plan is just a wish.’ Now we’re making realistic goals and the first goal is to actually win a game. I’m hoping we can do that.”
Lady Falcon Chiara Permentilla agreed with her coach and she shared that the team is still full of hopes entering the second round after two gallant five-setters against Ateneo-Motolite and Iriga-Navy only to fall short.
“Still positive pa din naman kasi for the past few games that we had, sa last part ng first round, we’ve been improving naman kaso nakukulangan kami we couldn’t finish the games kasi last two games namin we’ve gone five-setter games,” said Permentilla, who averaged 10.86 points in the first round as the second leading scorer of Adamson next to Bern Flora’s 13.43-point average.
“It’s not really a negative thing na we’re losing, we’ll just see it in a positive way na there’s always room for improvement,” she added.
The sophomore open hitter also vowed to keep on delivering for her team in the remainder of the Open Conference.
“Although, it’s only my second year with adamson, coaches see me as a senior na rin kasi our seniors last year lahat naman graduate na,” she said. “Since starting six din ako, I wanna deliver, I wanna help my team para mapanalo namin yung games or if not just for the sake na saying na I did something good for the team na hindi lang pang puno sa starting six.”
The Lady Falcons’ tremendous floor defense has been the headaches of all the seven other teams in the league but Padda is stressing that defense alone can’t win games.
“The problem is that we’re not able to transition it into our offense and that’s what’s killing us. Yes, I’m happy about our floor defense but you can’t win games alone with just your floor defense,” she said. “I don’t want to be the team that’s known for floor defense but never wins games. I’m hoping that the floor defense stays strong but we got to find a way to transition it on our offense.”