It was the battle of the masters of adjustments when Ateneo’s Tai Bundit went up against UP’s Jerry Yee to kick off their respective teams’ 2nd round campaign in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament.
With his initial rotation failing to deliver in the 1st set, Yee showcased the flexibility of his spikers by switching the positions of middle blocker Marian Buitre and opposite spiker Diana Carlos which proved to be a wise decision as it led UP to a massive upset, 19-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-22.
According to the UP mentor, the need to have a more solid defense at the net prompted the in-game adjustment.
“We wanted to see if kaya niyang punan ‘yung blocking. So the template was strong serves and strong blocks,” he said, talking about Carlos’s move to the middle from the weak side.
“We got the strong serves pero ‘yung strong blocks wala pa. Pinipilit nating punuin ‘yung kulang,” he added.
The matchup almost looked like a game of chess as Bundit and Yee both had a trial and error of utilizing their respective benches.
On banking on his wards’ versatility, Yee says, “It caught Ateneo off-guard. Hindi sila nag-adjust, not our fault.”
But more than the surprising with player movements, the game plan all along was basically do what La Salle did to Ateneo last weekend: disrupt the opponents’ play via loaded serves.
“We had service strategies. Nung inikot natin and somehow found something that worked, we tried to stick with it. Good for us,” he told the press.
“Meron tayong service target pero if hindi naman magwo-work or if hindi naman malaki ang difference, we’d rather go for the hard serve na malaki ang target,” added the mentor who has honed some of the biggest ex-UAAP stars.
Rookie Isa Molde continued to build a strong case of notching this year’s Rookie of the Year award as she top scored anew for Diliman with 15 points off 10 kills, 4 service aces and a block.
Molde’s fellow rookie, Diana Carlos, along with veterans Kathy Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon also finished in double digits, combining for 34 big points for UP’s winning cause.
“It shows na naga-adjust tayo. Nagle-learn tayo ng bago. 2nd loss, 3rd loss meron tayong dapat napi-pick-up dun. Hindi pwedeng stagnant tayo,” Yee said about the victory.
Talking about the huge achievement of winning against the defending champion which UP last did back in 2007, the mentor adds, “We are just playing. We’re still trying to learn, trying to add things to our game. Paunti-unting improvement, as long as may improvement, happy kami dun.”
For Ateneo, skipper Alyssa Valdez scored 19 points while fellow outside hitter Jho Maraguinot chipped in 15 markers.
Set to face lower seeded Adamson next, the coach warns about the trend of teams who tend to slack off after a huge win.
“Uso ‘yun ngayon. ‘Yung nagka-cloud 9 kuno,” he quipped. “We try to explain mabuti ang each and every situation. Hopefully hindi kami ma-fall into that kind of scenario.”
“Kung sasabihin mong may slump ‘yung team na kalaban mo and hindi ka maghahanda, nakakahiya eh. So kailangan mag prepare tayo,” he closed. — By Mac Dionisio