Even as UP gallantly battled for a Final Four slot in the recently concluded Shakey’s V-League Open Conference, coach Jerry Yee says the Lady Maroons are eyeing a better finish in the Collegiate Conference that starts on July 30.
The Diliman squad gained valuable experience by facing more experienced squads like Pocari Sweat, Air Force and Bali Pure in the season-opening tournament, with lessons coming in handy when they lock horns with fellow college teams in the midseason feast.
“We were determining kung sinong bagay where,” Yee said of his constant tinkering with the rotation a few weeks ago. “Naayos natin latter part na nung competition. This time, siguro may mga adjustments parin, hindi naman mawawala yun plus yun naman talaga yung purpose ko in joining pre-season tournaments.”
“Wala naman masyadong pagbabago from when we joined the Open Conference. Tuloy-tuloy parin which I see it as an advantage na medyo nakapag adjust na kami. Meron kaming konting new players bigla nung first few days nung competition during the Open Conference. Advantage, meaning, nakatagal na. I mean tumagal na kaming naglalaro together. So probably better kami this coming competition,” he added.
In the Collegiate Conference, Yee will shake up his roster a bit, sending in outside hitter Caryl Sandoval, who missed UP’s Final Four run in Season 78.
“Kaya siya out nung UAAP season kasi nagka appendicitis. She had to recover, medyo natagalan lang yung recovery niya kasi yung operation niya hindi naman yung super high tech na procedure,” he explained. “But now, nakabawi na. Probably nakakasabay na sa workouts natin, sa mga hard trainings natin. Bibigyan natin ulit siya ng shot. Kung ano yung i-pe-perform niya, let’s see.”
With only 8 days left for them to prepare, Yee hopes that this tournament could really help his team be molded into one fighting unit before the UAAP begins.
“Kung UAAP yung target malayo pa naman kasi by design, ayaw naman natin na nagpi-peak yung isang team na malayo pa yung tournament na pinaghahandaan mo. Pero we will be fun to watch,” he said while adding he is confident the Lady Maroons will make it to the semis this time.
“If makaapak tayo hanggang Championship, ibang story na yun. Yes I can say, kaya naman. Although madami din other teams dyan na magaganda yung chances. With UP, kaya rin natin,” he ended. — By Joyce Palad