Aside from the 3rd set, UP head coach Jerry Yee was pretty much happy with how his wards slugged it out against reigning champion Ateneo in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Lady Maroons may have failed to snatch even a set from the Lady Eagles but the quality exchange of offense and defense had the mentor nodding in approval minutes after the match.
“‘Yung 1st 2 sets although talo, sana ganun ‘yung laro namin lagi. Sabi nga nila kailangan namin daanan ‘yung mga ganung stage,” Yee told the press.
“‘Yung 3rd set ayaw lang natin na makita pa ‘yun because that’s how we looked like nung Season 76,” added the 3rd-year coach. “‘Yung errors namin nakakatawa. Wala kami sa sarili at natataranta kami.”
Not too far behind in attacking — 39 to 42 — UP, headed by rookies Diana Carlos and Isa Molde, went on a spiking show against the likes of Alyssa Valdez and Bea de Leon.
And if intimidation was a factor in the team’s meltdown in the last frame, then so be it, says the coach.
“I’m very happy. If intimidated sila pero ganun pa rin nilaro nila, okay na ako dun,” he said. “‘Yung 1st 2 sets I’m very much satisfied at sana magtuloy-tuloy. That is to be expected sa mga rookies eh, ‘yung consistencies talaga wala.”
But while the Diliman’s squad’s offense was able to hold its own against the best spiking team in the league to date, the same thing cannot be said about UP’s blocking.
This did not go unnoticed to the eyes of the meticulous coach.
“‘Yung blocking nga ‘yung sinisita natin. Ang bagal natin na para tayong multo. Dinaan-daanan tayo ng bola,” quipped Yee.
“Sabi ko kay Marian (Buitre) hindi pwedeng sa palo ka babawi and then sa blocking butas-butas ka. And then si Kathy (Bersola) nababagalan tayo,” he added.
To counter UP’s lack of net defense, rookie Aiesha Gannaban came in to pinch hit for skipper Bersola in a couple of stretches.
The captain, Yee revealed, has been nursing a shoulder injury she suffered from in training a couple of days before the season kicked off.
“Si Kathy hindi makakilos ng tama. Mabagal ‘yung reflexes. Mabagal niya i-angat ‘yung dalawa niyang arms eh kaya nilalabas labas natin siya,” he shared.
“Right before the start of this season, may mga ka-tuneup tayo na medyo nanggigil. Mga nakaka-tuneup kasi nila medyo malalakas na mga lalaki,” recalled Yee on the unfortunate incident. “Medyo nadiinan ‘yung isang palo kaya nagkaroon ng tama ‘yung shoulder.” — By Mac Dionisio