“Mahirap palang maipit dyan sa Cloud 9 na ‘yan. Malagkit eh.”
This was how UP head coach Jerry Yee opened the post-game interview after he and his crew escaped a fired up Adamson squad, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22, in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
The Lady Maroons almost fell prey to the bug that has teams being complacent after a big win and UP’s huge victory over Ateneo was the most glaring symptom.
“We were warning them the whole week sa distractions and complacency. ‘Yun ang mga kailangan iwasan,” shared Yee. “But then ‘yun na nga, I don’t know kung masasabing external factors o talagang sa bata galing. Mahirap getting through that stage.”
The mentor’s observations were spot-on as the girls of Diliman trailed in many instances before eventually catching fire just in time to turn back the Lady Falcons in each frame.
Sharing some takeaways from his in-game huddles, Yee says, “Slow ‘yung start. I was shouting to them na ang bilis na ng pace ng laro tapos kayo ang bagal pa rin ng kilos. Para kayong zombie dyan sa loob ng court.”
“Siyempre gusto na rin natin na nakakabangon sila sa ganoong set-up. A year or 2 ago siguro talo na kami. Ngayon may maturity na nakita so credit to them pa rin na nakakabawi,” he added.
Rookie Diana Carlos, who played as a middle blocker anew, looked comfortable with her new role, topscoring with 13 points while UP skipper Kathy Bersola followed suit with 11 markers.
On the side of the Lady Falcons, who played their 1st game without Sherwin Meneses at the helm, Mhay Roque, Mylene Paat and Jema Galanza combined for 31 big points but it was all for naught as they failed to close out each set even when they were comfortably ahead.
On facing a Domeng Custodio-led Adamson, Yee says, “I’m not thinking about that. Sabi ko nga ang sa amin, iwasan lang natin maging complacent which lumabas kami very complacent.”
Though only contributing 3 points, rookie Justine Dorog made her presence felt during the match via strong kills that ended some rallies in favor of the Lady Maroons.
Touted to be a strong contender for the Rookie of the Year plum even before the season started, Dorog’s emergence has been temporarily halted by a shoulder injury.
“Si Dorog one of the more important players ng team. Although hindi natin siya maibabad ng husto kasi she’s undergoing therapy sa MORO,” the mentor shared. “Fit to play naman daw kaso kailangan din ng rest. Kailangan i-balance ‘yung fit to play and rest. Mamimili ka dun.”
Yee would have preferred to have a healthy Dorog at his disposal but for now, he is happy with the team’s 6-3 record and he will make do with who he has in the roster.
“Probably matagal pa ang full recovery kasi madami pang pinagagawa sa kanya. Everyday siya nandun. Kami naman kung sino lang ang available na maglalaro, paglalaruin natin,” he closed. — By Mac Dionisio