The PVL semifinals series between the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws and the Adamson University Lady Falcons was locked in grueling five-setters for the first two games.
In the deciding Game Three, however, FEU needed just four sets to put away Adamson.
In a series heavily affected by absences, it was just right that Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza’s presence decided who went to the Finals.
Pons, FEU’s captain and graduating leader, and Atienza, their starting libero, had missed FEU’s last four matches as they prepared for and participated in the UAAP Beach Volleyball tournament.
With the tournament on break until Thursday, Pons and Atienza had time to suit up in the PVL.
Adamson’s top scorer and skipper Jema Galanza, however, could not forego her recovery from a gruesome ankle injury, leaving the Lady Falcons at a decided disadvantage.
“Nandiyan si Pons, kaya kami nanalo,” said a relieved FEU head coach George Pascua. “Gusto ko rin na nandiyan ang presence nila para ma-motivate ang mga kasama nila. Siyempre, puwede naman maglaro, why not, kasi gusto ko na lahat ng laro niya, gusto ko mag-champion kasi last playing year niya.
“Lahat ng games namin para sa kanila na mga ga-graduate.”
Pons, on her part, just wanted to contribute as much as she could after missing their indoor practices for the last three weeks.
“Sinabi ko talaga sa sarili ko na pag naglaro ako, ili-lead ko talaga yung team kasi yun nga, parang nakita ko rin nung past two games ng semis na andoon naman, nalalabas naman nila yung laro nila pero kulang yung leadership sa loob,” recalled the 5-foot-7 spiker, who provided 15 points, 14 digs, and 11 excellent receptions to pace the Lady Tams. “So sabi ko na pag naglaro ako, yung isang way na matutulong ko sa team is mali-lead ko sila, tapos siyempre lead by example.
“Tapos ayun, palagi ko rin silang mino-motivate kahit di ako nakakapaglaro ng past two games.”
Playing in her final year, the Negrense just wants to win as many championships as she can for FEU.
“Last year ko na po kasi kaya nilulubos ko na lahat ng chance ko na masuklian ‘yung mga pagkakataon na binigay sa akin ng FEU,” the 20-year-old expressed.
Even if that means having to play on different courts in a span of four days.