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Zapanta shines as Adamson outlasts UP

By Josiah Albelda Posted Dec 8th 2013

Mayette Zapanta took matters in her own hands late in the game as the Adamson Lady Falcons rallied to beat the UP Lady Maroons.

University of the Philippines had Adamson University on the ropes and looked on the verge of pulling off a massive upset.

Until Mayette Zapanta decided to take matters in her own hands.

The fifth-year spiker delivered the most telling blows in the last two sets to power the Lady Falcons to a pulsating five-set win in the 76th UAAP women's volleyball tournament Sunday at the packed FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

The San Marcelino-based squad were in trouble, especially in the fourth set as the Lady Maroons went for the kill, but Adamson pulled through and eked out the 23-25, 25-22, 25-27, 25-18, 15-8.

After rookie Chester Ong tied the set at 7-all in the fifth, Zapanta scored six of Adamson's last eight points as the power-hitting Davao native sizzled in crunch time.

"Si Mayette, superb young laro niya ngayon," said a relieved coach Sherwin Meneses. "Isa siya sa mga beterano. Salamat at nag-pick up naman siya."

Zapanta finished with a season-high 17 points, ably supporting Shiela Pineda, who grounded and pounded her way to 21 markers and 20 digs.

Faye Guevarra added 16 points, Mandy Villanueva came up big in the fourth frame to finish with 13 points and Len Cortel chipped in with 12 as the Lady Falcons booked their first win this season.

Adamson connected on 81 of their 251 spike attempts, as their offense proved to be enough to overcome the 37 unforced errors they committed throughout the match.

"Problema talaga namin yung coverage," Meneses admitted. "Hindi mo naman pwedeng palakihin bigla yung mga player."

Sophomore rising star Kathy Bersola dazzled with her blocking and hitting and finished with 17 points off 13 kills, three blocks and an ace while skipper Angeli Araneta and Ong added 18 and 11 markers, respectively.

The Lady Falcons started the game waxing hot, with Villanueva pushing Adamson to an 8-2 lead in the first set.

But UP zoomed in a 9-3 run that tied the frame at 18-all before Araneta and freshman Sheeka Espinosa slammed the door shut on the Lady Falcons for a 25-23 set victory.

The Lady Maroons continued their momentum in the second stanza and built a 9-4 advantage after Adamson fell into a maze of errors.

However, the Lady Falcons clawed their way back into the game and took the lead at 19-18 off a Pineda block on UP rookie Alyssa Layug.

And after Bersola tied it anew at 21-all with a power tip, Adamson scored four of the next five points to knot the count at one set apiece.

The Lady Falcons sizzled early in the third set and buried the Lady Maroons in an 11-4 hole before UP recovered behind the sniping of Araneta and the series of Adamson errors.

The Lady Maroons looked to be on the edge of handing the upset after a quick hit by Bersola pushed them ahead, 12-8, in the fourth set.

But UP's inexperience showed, as the Lady Falcons dropped a 6-2 bomb to tie it at 14-all before Adamson gained momentum with a set-closing 10-2 run punctuated by back-to-back-to-back hits by Zapanta.