MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo head coach Roger Gorayeb’s adjustments on Saturday night all worked out for the Lady Eagles – until the third set came.
Ateneo saw its two-set lead go up in flames as La Salle nailed a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6 comeback win in game one of the UAAP season 75 women’s volleyball finals.
“Di ko masabi kung ano pumasok sa isip nila [at hinayaan nila mangyari yun]. This is the second time we won the first two sets against La Salle tapos tatlo sunod sunod talo,” said Gorayeb. “Sana hindi na mangyari ulit.”
It was a dejavu of their first meeting in the eliminations, except Fille Cainglet fought until the fifth set this time around – but it still wasn’t enough to tide Ateneo over.
“Pinaka-nakita ko, di na nakakareceive eh. Lamang kami nung third set pero [nawala] kaka-error at misreceive,” Gorayeb said.
The Lady Eagles took a 13-8 lead, needing just a solid finishing kick to wrap the game up, which ultimately didn’t come. But it wasn’t for the lack of adjustment.
In fact, Gorayeb’s plan to put Alyssa Valdez in the middle threw the Lady Archers off their game at first.
“Siguro yung nakita naming bago yung nag-quicker si Valdez ngayon, kasi she was opener before, so nahirapan kami mag-adjust,” said Michelle Gumabao, who led La Salle.
“Matagal ko ng plano yun, I’m just waiting for the finals. Pumasok naman adjustment namin, said Gorayeb of the change.
“We just have to accept what happened and learn from that mistake. La Salle played a good game,” Gorayeb added.
Seeing what La Salle did to comeback, even despite 48 errors, Ateneo knows there’s no point of giving up just yet.
“It’s not over. It’s a tall order, since now La Salle has a psychological advantage but we will have to do our best. Another adjustment nanaman,” Gorayeb finished.