At a glance: Striving for volleyball gold

Date Posted: June 14, 2017 at 09:29 AM

Armed to the teeth with the experience provided by last season’s disastrous showing, the Adamson Lady Falcons Volleyball Team, thirsting more than ever for a podium finish, is set to bounce back and create ripples in the hard-court as they gear themselves for revenge in the 80th season of the UAAP.

The past three seasons were a time of rebuilding for the San Marcelino squad. During this stint, the Falcons saw the departure of team stalwarts, including star spiker Mylene Paat, who opted out of her last playing year to play in the semi-professional league, and head coach Sherwin Meneses, who jumped ship to be an assistant coach for the Ateneo women’s volleyball team. The changes pulled the once final four contender—the last appearance was in Season 76—into the bottom ranks of the UAAP.

The Falcons then revamped the volleyball program during season 79, with the introduction of new head coach, Airess Padda, with returnees, assistant coaches Cherry Macatangay and Michelle Gumabao, along with former Golden Tigress Angeli Tabaquero. But this did not immediately translate into wins for the San Marcelino squad, as the lack of playing experience bogged them down, turning them into a bottom-dweller with a 1-13 record during the last season.

Hope manifested late last season when the Lady Falcons finally broke their 20-game losing streak after defeating the University of the East in the last game of the season. With the lone win, the flame of confidence of the Falcons team was rekindled and reminded them of their hunger to hit right back into the thick of the UAAP volleyball tilt.

For the 80th season of the UAAP, the Lady Falcons are back on the right track for a podium finish or even a championship. Leading them is team captain Jema Galanza, who will be playing her final year this season with the Adamson team. Galanza, who has been the consistent Queen Falcon during last season’s struggle, would be complemented with a much more mature team. The spiker will also be bringing in experience from the offseason tourneys after playing with the Creamline Cool Smashers in the Premier Volleyball League.

With head coach Airess Padda’s second season as head coach, the Adamson squad is expected to show an increased amount of determination as veterans Jelllie Tempiatura and Joy Dacoron, along with young guns Chiara Permentilla, Bern Flora, Chum Caole, and Awit Joaquin return with last season’s experience. Although the head coach shows hints of frustrations with last season’s turnout and the performance of the team, save Galanza, interviews with Padda show her brimming with hope after last season’s sole win. Padda also hints on the kind of competition that the Adamson squad is set to bring for Season 80, with last season being just an exhibition as they build the team’s foundations.

Season 80 will also show a return for budding star Mhay Roque, who completely missed last season after suffering an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear on her knee during season 78. Roque was once a consistent player behind Galanza and Paat and her return would signal another boost for the rebuilding Adamson squad. Eli Soyud, who was once a big part of the DLSU volleyball squad, will also be playing for Adamson this UAAP season after sitting out last year to comply with the league’s one-year residency requirement. The addition of Roque and Soyud would beef up the Lady Falcons, as Galanza acquires much needed backup after last season’s solo performance.

A dark horse for this season would be the possible return of Mylene Paat, who still has one year left to play for the UAAP. Hints of Paat’s return has been abuzz for the whole summer after the star player left the Adamson squad during season 78 to play with Laoag in the V-League and with Cignal in the Philippine SuperLiga.

As the Adamson Lady Falcons Volleyball team continues to finalize their rebuild—with new potential players recruited during the summer’s open tryouts in Manila,  Iloilo, Cebu and Davao—the squad beams with pride as they flash off their grit and determination to bring the volleyball gold into San Marcelino. A year more experienced than last, and with the team easing themselves into familiarity with the new system under Padda, the Lady Falcons clearly have what it takes to build a nest in the podium, or even soar in for the kill and take home the coveted UAAP championship.

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