For UP head coach Jerry Yee, a slight edge in chemistry spelled the difference in UP’s crucial 4-set win over NU in the 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference Saturday at the Philsports Arena.
The Lady Maroons denied the Bulldogs an assured playoff spot for the semifinals of the tournament while setting a win-or-go-home match against Laoag for the last semis slot on Monday.
And they did it in entertaining fashion.
“I don’t know if it’s us pero baka kulang pa sila ng [jelling together.] Bago pa ‘yung setter nila. Bago pa yung rotation nila,” Yee said in a post-game interview. “Lamang ng konti siguro ‘yung tao natin with regards na magsama at maglaro together.”
The contrast in the team’s moods was evident throughout the game as UP looked poised and loose even in crucial moments compared to the Bulldogs tense atmosphere.
With both squads sporting rookie setters, the UP attackers took control backed by Diana Carlos’s 22 points. Isa Molde, team captain Kathy Bersola and Justine Dorog scored 16, 14 and 14 points, respectively.
Relatively small in the middle, the 5-foot-8 Carlos led all players in the block department with 6 block points, outhustling the 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago, who only had 4.
However, coach Yee said he will not be dependent on Carlos in their upcoming games even if the erstwhile opposite player is “versatile.”
“Ayoko namang maging dependent sa kanya. Baka kainin tayo ng malalaking players na kalaban.”
Also, the UP tactician noted that their lapses in their receiving end should be improve.
“Lamang na tayo nahahabol pa dahil sa service ng kalaban.”
Yee said that should they win and played well against the “more veteran and deeper” Laoag squad, it will be “at least somehow living up to our top four billing in the UAAP.” — By John Chester Fajardo