By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws dodged a major upset on Sunday, surviving a gritty effort from the tailending Adamson Lady Falcons in five sets, 30-32, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20 and 15-13, in University Athletic Association of the Philippines action at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Played underwhelming for much of the contest, especially early on, the Lady Tamaraws stepped up to the challenge down the stretch to buck a 1-2 match deficit to win and improve to 5-3 for Season 81 while sending the Lady Falcons (1-7) to their fourth straight defeat.
The contest got off to a tight start with the opening set going on overdrive in the 30s.
FEU had early control but Adamson would charge back to make a game out of it.
The Lady Tamaraws had a chance to close out the set, 26-25, but the Lady Falcons showed grit, led by Bern Flora and Chiara Permentilla, to extend the frame and eventually outlast FEU, 32-30.
Got some momentum in the first-set closeout, the Lady Falcons continued to dictate the tempo in the second early on.
They built an 8-4 lead by the first technical timeout before FEU started to make its move.
The Lady Tamaraws overtook the Lady Falcons, 16-15, midway after which they outscored the latter, 5-4, to claim a 21-19 advantage moments later on the lead of veterans Hether Guino-o and Kyle Negrito.
From there FEU charged to the set win, 25-20, to level the contest at a set apiece.
In the third set Adamson regained its footing, racing to a 16-11 lead at the halfway juncture.
But the Lady Tamaraws did not allow Adamson to run away with the set, clawing their way back to within one point, 24-23, down the stretch.
Joy Dacoron helped the Lady Falcons avoid a slippage, connecting on a runner to put away the set and the 2-1 lead for the match.
The Lady Falcons sustained their fine form at the start of the fourth frame, leading 8-5 by the first technical time out and 16-14 midway.
Led by rookie Lycha Ebon though, the Lady Tamaraws galloped to a 7-1 run to take a 21-17 lead.
They would not look back after for the 25-20 set win and force a deciding fifth set.
Unfortunately for FEU it would lose Ebon early in the fifth frame after being stretchered off the court because of an apparent right knee injury. She was the second Lady Tamaraw to get hurt in the match after Jeanette Villarreal injured her ankle in the first set.
When play resumed, FEU rose to an 8-5 lead at the exchange, towed by substitute Ivana Agudo and Czarina Carandang.
The Lady Tamaraws extended their lead to 10-6 after but the Lady Falcons would not go down without a fight.
Adamson levelled the score at 13-all as Flora waxed hot.
FEU, however, held tight as they scored the next two points to complete the comeback to score the win.
Ebon led FEU in the win, finishing with 19 points, 16 off attacks, before getting injured.
Meanwhile, La Salle got back to the top of the UAAP streetdance competition after ruling this year’s edition in proceedings held on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Anchored on a rock and roll-themed performance inspired by legendary band Queen, the La Salle Dance Company completed some unfinished business from last year and went all the way to the championship.
LSDC finished second last year but made sure to claim the title this time around while relegating erstwhile defending champion FEU Dance Company Street Alliance to a bridesmaid finish.
La Salle tallied a final score of 86.5 points to FEU’s 85. Finishing third were the National University Underdawgz with 83.25 points.
The title was the fourth for La Salle in the competition’s eight-year history.
The rest of the field scored as follows: University of the Philippines Streetdance (82), University of Santo Tomas Prime (79), University of the East Street Warriors (72.42), Company of Ateneo Dancers (70.75) and Adamson Cast (67.45).
By Michael Angelo S. Murillo