Just when everyone thought NU was back to its lethal form after sweeping Adamson, it falls back to its bad habits, snapping its own momentum and losing to Ateneo in straight sets.
Though the Lady Bulldogs fought tooth and nail in the 1st frame, the succeeding sets had the girls off Sampaloc breaking down as the Lady Eagles smelled blood and kept pounding at their faulty defense.
A teary-eyed Myla Pablo talked about her low-scoring output—5 points—after NU spent a little more than 2 hours talking things through at the dugout.
“Ako mismo wala ako nalaro. Hindi ko natulungan ‘yung team ko,” admitted Pablo. “Hindi ko maiwasan na ma-down dahil lagi akong off sa game.”
Season 78 has been a roller coaster ride for NU so far, having won games against powerhouse teams and surprisingly losing to lower-seeded squads.
Being the veteran spiker that she is, Pablo points fingers at no one and simply takes responsibility for her lukewarm performance.
“Hindi ko rin alam (ano’ng problema). Ako mismo naiinis ako. Nada-down (ako). Ngayon wala akong nalaro,” she shared.
“Nasa akin na ‘yung problema. Gusto ko tulungan ‘yung team ko pero hindi ko magawa,” added the outside hitter. “Gusto ko man lumaban, gusto ko i-angat team ko, pero ako yung nauuna (bumigay).”
With a 4-5 win-loss record, NU now has to step up its game leading into the deep waters of the competition to book a return trip to the Final Four.
As captain of the crew, Pablo, in spite of all the pressure to deliver the numbers, hopes to bounce back soon enough and live up to the billing.
On dealing with the high expectations, she says, “Alam ko naman na captain ako, senior ako, at marami akong responsibilidad na dapat gampanan. Pero iniisantabi ko nalang yun. Kasi ikaw mismo yung mawawalan ng focus sa laro.”
“As the team captain and graduating, ako yung inaasahan ni coach pero hindi ko siya natulungan. Sana bago ako grumaduate, makapasok kami sa Final Four,” she added.
Coming into the season, NU was touted to be a shoo-in in the semis race after the exposure Pablo and Jaja Santiago had in the off-season, including their respective stints with the national team.
Set to face a still-winless UE next, NU will have the perfect platform for a bounce back which could steer their campaign back to the right path.
“Focus lang sa training at wala nang reklamo. Sasabihin ko na lang sa sarili ko na, ‘Graduating ka Myla Pablo. Captain ka. Ikaw ang inaasahan ng team,’” Pablo said on her mindset moving forward.
“Kaya ko ‘yan. May pag-asa pa. Tulungan na lang,” she closed. — By Arylle Magtalas