UAAP: Adamson Lady Falcons are reaching new heights in Season 80

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Adamson head coach Airess Padda and the Lady Falcons had a lot to smile about after their second win of the UAAP Season 80.

With their win over the UP Lady Maroons on Wednesday, the Ermita, Manila-based outfit has doubled its season output.

To be fair, it wasn't difficult to do after posting a horrendous 1-13 record last year.

"We broke our record," Padda said on a phone call with CNN Philippines Sports Desk.

Ask any sports writer or keen observer of the league, Adamson was one of the teams being touted to break into the Final Four before the season started.

But as soon as Season 80 opened, the Lady Falcons stumbled off the blocks against the Jaja Santiago-led NU Lady Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs shut down Adamson in four sets, making the Lady Falcons look hapless in the fourth set of their season opener, 25-13.

"There is pressure on us," Padda admitted. "I think once we got passed that, our first showing, the girls really woke up and got their confidence going."

Adamson's training is probably one of the more rigorous regimes in the league, but their physical limitations aren't what failed them in their first loss.

"It was really about the girls' confidence and their mental game, that really woke me up as a coach," the second-year American coach said. "We thought going into the beginning of UAAP, that opening game, our confidence was in a good place."

Right after the Bulldogs, Adamson had to regroup fast for its looming encounter against another Final Four hopeful in the FEU Lady Tamaraws.

"After the NU game, we hit the gym hard again," Padda said. "We reminded them not to think about the past."

With a focus on further improving their floor defense and developing a more potent attack moving forward, the Lady Falcons were able to eke out a tough five-set win over FEU, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-12.

Just four days later they comfortably swept the Lady Maroons, which included a monstrous 25-9 opening set win.

After its first three games, Adamson is the second best team in spiking (31.52% success), second best team in serving (2.42 avg. aces per set), and the best receiving (37.39% efficiency) of all eight teams.

Pretty good results from a team that only managed a single win just a year ago.

Lady Falcons soaring high

To figure out what transformed the Lady Falcons to a much better team after just one year, all you have to do is look at their lineup and the individual production of their new additions.

Returning setter Fen Emnas is the second ranked setter and the third best server of the league.

Another returnee, Mylene Paat, is the tenth best scorer, the fourth best blocker, and the second best server so far. 

Former La Salle Lady Spiker Eli Soyud, though she has seen less time on the court in the past two games, adds championship experience that is hard to find in a league that has seen only Ateneo and La Salle in the finals since Season 74.

Rookie Chiara Permentilla has made good on Padda's prediction that the league 'will know who she is', by being the seventh ranked spiker and the tenth best receiver in the UAAP.

Even though this team no longer is reliant on Jema Galanza to be dangerous, the graduating skipper has been a gem for the Lady Falcons.

"Jema is the epitome of resilience," Padda told CNN Philippines. "When she was down it was really devastating, not just for her but for the team."

Entering the season, Galanza told CNN Philippines that she hasn't fully recovered from a right ankle injury she suffered in the Premier Volleyball League last September.

But Galanza's production for Adamson says otherwise.

The Adamson skipper is the league's sixth best scorer, fourth best spiker, tenth best digger, and the best receiver.

"Her number one goal was to get back to our team, so that not only so she could finish her last year but she really wanted to help our team to achieve our goals," Padda said.

"She is proving to herself, she can and she did," Padda added.

It is way too soon to say whether or not the Lady Falcons will make it into the Final Four, but the early returns have been promising.

Barring any injuries, Adamson will at least be in the running to play some games beyond the elimination round.

Whether or not they are ready to compete for a title is a different story, but one that the squad is surely eager to test.