MANILA, Philippines — National University, even despite its formidable cast, just didn’t measure up to Ateneo in game one of the 10th Shakey’s V-League First Conference finals.
Blame the Lady Bulldogs’ poor reception, hampering their attacking play all game leading to their 15-25, 22-25, 23-25 setback on Thursday.
“Di rin talaga kami maka-atake ng ng maayos, dahil wala kaming receive. Yung bola, kung saan saan napupunta kaya nahihirapan setter namin magbigay ng maayos,” said head coach Edjet Mabbayad.
“Masyado kaming naging errors. Chance ball na, kukunin nalang namin bola, di pa namin maihatid ng maayos sa setter. Kita naman natin na puno kami ng error,” he added.
It was a disappointing performance for a team who has the best attacker, best scorer, best setter, best digger and the Most Valuable Player of the conference at its disposal.
Earlier, Dindin Santiago was named the best scorer and MVP but she only had seven points as no one from NU side wound up in double digits.
Aiko Urdas topscored for the Lady Bulldogs with nine while best attacker Myla Pablo added eight. Best setter Rubie De Leon had 18 excellent sets.
But Mabbayad thought the pressure that came with these individual awards was barely a non-factor to his players’ poor showing.
“Siguro, may konting [pressure]. Pero di s’ya ganun kalaking bagay para masira laro. Off lang talaga laro namin,” he said.
The lack of experience in a game with larger stakes like a championship series, though, could’ve rattled the Lady Bulldogs.
“Siguro merong ganun [factor]. Una, mga bata ngayon lang nakarating championship sa V-League. Yung experience nila di pa ganun kasapat,” Mabbayad said.
“Pero tingin ko naman natuto na sila ngayon game.”
And that’s the only option left for NU, learn from its mistakes, as it hopes to extend the series to a winner-take-all game three and derail Ateneo’s retention bit.
“Makakabawi kami sa game two. Yung adjustment d’yan yung receive, yun ang pina-kaimportant para maka-atake kami,” Mabbayad said.