Back with a vengeance.
After a puzzling slump that had the team suffer blow after blow to its confidence, NU is finally back to its winning ways, opening the 2nd round of Season 78 with a sweep of Adamson Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
Aside from the Lady Bulldogs’ impressive spiking, the bad showing of the Lady Falcons, who had 28 unforced errors, allowed the Sampaloc spikers to dominate from start to finish, 25-18, 25-12, 25-18.
While there have been a lot of speculations as to what caused the 3-game skid, the game plan against Adamson, according to NU head coach Roger Gorayeb, was to simply talk less and do more.
“We have been having rough times in the past 2 week eh,” he admitted. “We need to win this game para umayos naman. Wala naman kasi talagang problema. Ewan ko ba bakit nagkaganun ‘yung last 2 weeks.”
Talking about their strategy, the coach adds, “We need this kind of win to bring back the confidence nung mga bata. Sabi ko sa kanila kanina we have to work harder. Less talk, more action.”
And act the Lady Bulldogs did.
Being benched midway through the game against UP—which NU lost—might have done the trick for veterans Myla Pablo and Jaja Santiago as the power duo scorched hot with a combined 27-point output.
For Gorayeb, his main guns just needed their inner beasts to be awakened.
“Actually hindi mo sila kailangan i-motivate. Kailangan gisingin mo lang ‘yung inner self nila eh,” said the mentor, talking about how he brought the 2 back into form.
“You cannot win games by impression. Magaling si Myla, malaki si Jaja. Hindi pwedeng ganun. Walang mananalo sa amin kung impression lang,” he added. “Kailangan i-convert mo ‘yan into action. Malaki si Jaja, kailangan maka-block siya. Magaling si Myla, dapat makakilos siya ng maayos.”
Surprisingly in the starting crew, setter Ivy Perez did wonders for the embattled team, dishing 21 excellent sets on top of her 4 points — 2 of which came from offensive blocks.
This clearly was a gamble that paid off on the side of Gorayeb and the rest of NU’s coaching staff, letting the veteran playmaker steer the team to a 4-4 record.
“Isa ‘yan sa weakness namin eh, ‘yung setter. Hindi sila kumbaga sa point guard ma-play. Kailangan sakto ang receive. ‘Yun ang problema namin eh,” shared Gorayeb.
“Malaking bagay rin ‘yung laro ni Ivy. Hoping lang ako kanina na ‘yung 4 year na nilaro ni Ivy magamit naman niya,” he said.
“Nagamit naman umpisa pa lang. Ganado silang lahat, ituloy na ‘yan. Wala nang awatan, wala nang labasan.”
No one from Adamson finished in double digits as team captain Mylene Paat’s measly 9-point outing was already the best from the San Marcelino crew.
Up next on NU’s assignments is defending champion Ateneo, who swept them in the 1st round. — By Mac Dionisio