Suffering its first loss of the season, the University of the Philippines remains positive after bowing to Far Eastern University in straight sets, 23-25, 24-26, 23-25.
The Fighting Maroons started strong with their service aces and blocks, giving the Tamaraws a hard time receiving and passing the ball. The tables turned when the Morayta spikers found their groove and eventually got their hard spikes through UP’s porous defense.
Outside hitter Wendell Miguel said Coach Rod Palmero reminded them to play their own game.
“Our coaches never gave us any pressure coming into this game, he was actually enjoying what he saw on the first part of our game,” he told FOX Sports in Filipino.
“But in the end, he felt that he had the need to give more instructions because we were the ones putting pressure on ourselves.”
A group of rookies being in the team wasn’t a factor in the loss, says Miguel, as their seniors were expected to step up this season.
“Coach Rod always reminds us that it’s a big factor if all the seniors in our team will step up,” Miguel added. “In some cases, our rookies feel down whenever we have a bad game. It adds to the pressure that they will feel. It’s really important for Evan, Alfred and I, to step up our game to help the team and lessen the pressure.”
The Maroons are aiming for a Final Four slot this season and focused on receiving and digging during their lead-up to the tournament. Going back to the basics, they wanted to polish their floor defense — a major disadvantage last season.
“As of now, our goal is to enter the Final Four. Once achieved, that’s where we’ll start to think about getting into the Championship,” said Miguel, who finished with 13 points.
By Joyce Palad