“Kailangang kailangan talaga namin ng panalo.”
These were the first few words of FEU head coach Shaq delos Santos to the press after his team turned back UST Saturday in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
With this in mind, the Lady Tamaraws hit the ground running, outpacing the hapless Golden Tigresses to take home the 25-22, 25-18, 15-25, 25-23 victory to move to a 2-2 record.
On its way to a sweep, FEU faced a speed bump in the 3rd frame as UST guns Mela Tunay and Cherry Rondina, who combined for 30 points, started to step on the gas to push for an extension.
Tunay and Rondina’s late-game efforts were for naught, however, as their team’s 36 errors, including a game-losing miscue from Ria Meneses, aided the Morayta squad’s winning cause.
“As usual ‘yung sakit ng mga players namin na medyo nagre-relax sila pagdating ng 3rd set,” said FEU coach Shaq delos Santos. “Lagi namin sinasabi sa kanila kung kaya niyo gawin ng 3 sets, mag perform kayo the whole game. But of course hindi natin masasabi all the time ano ang ilalaro. Buti na lang naka-recover kami.”
Sophomore Toni Rose Basas continued her good showing with yet another brilliant performance finishing with 19 points all from kills.
Giving the outside hitter major playing minutes, according to the coach, is a gamble that has been paying off so far.
“Malaki talaga ‘yung binibigay naming playing time sa kanya kasi ‘yung percentage sa attack at kaya pang bumlock,,” shared delos Santos. “‘Yung receive niya lang kanina ang medyo hindi consistent but all in all, maganda ang performance.”
“Sobrang happy kami kasi nakikita namin na nape-perform niya ng maayos ‘yung mga ginagawa niya sa ensayo,” he added.
The smooth transition of the plays from the FEU side made its spikers look good but behind it was the mastermind Gyzelle Sy, who came back to the fold after a 1-year hiatus.
While delos Santos believes Sy is yet to get to the level of play she had back in Season 74, the setter’s performance” against UST, says delos Santos, is a good indication of what’s to come for the diminutive playmaker.
“We’re happy na nakagawa siya ng mga set play. Dahan-dahan niya nang nakukuha ‘yung laro niya,” he said. “Honestly speaking ‘yung sa mga first few games namin ‘yung adjustment period nandun pa rin eh. Kahit sabihin natin na beterano siya, nawala pa rin siya sa UAAP.”
“And then ‘yung playing time matagal na ulit siya naglalaro sa loob. Kaya sana gumanda pa ng gumanda.”
Now halfway through the first round, things are looking good for the 29-time champions as they aim to surpass their Final Four finish from last year.
All this, though, will only be possible if the Lady Tamaraws will be playing with consistency as soon as possible.
“Maturity and consistency every game ang kulang namin,” shared the former UST head coach.
“‘Yun kasi hindi basta naituturo ng coach. Nasa tao ‘yan eh kung paano ka magde-deliver,” added delos Santos. “Lagi lang namin nire-remind na kung gusto manalo, gawin ‘yung best para maipanalo. Kailangan mag mature pa eh.” — By Mac Dionisio