Coach vows to steer UST back to Final Four next season
The moment Kungfu Reyes took over as head coach of University of Santo Tomas’ women’s volleyball team, he believed the team he inherited before the 78th Season of the UAAP has the tools to make the Finals.
Reyes’ vision wasn’t realized as the Golden Tigresses didn’t even come close to meeting their coach’s expectations.
Instead, UST wrote the same old ending to its season as the team misses another Final Four trip for the fourth consecutive year following its loss to National University in five sets on Sunday.
“Yun nga assessment ko dati dahil sa quality of players, nag-assess ako ng Finals appearance,” Reyes said minutes after UST absorbed its eighth loss in the season.
UST, before the start of Season 78, had team captain Pam Lastimosa in the lineup but she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in practice just before the eliminations started.
The leadership role was passed to sophomore EJ Laure but the former Rookie of the Year had difficulty carrying the team on her own.
Reyes found himself in a tough situation and it turned even harder after the first round when UST only won three of seven games.
“It seems ako lang may gustong mag-finals,” Reyes said. “Pero sabi ko nga hindi ko naman pwedeng ipilit na akin lang, kailangan unti-unting bumababa ako sa Final Four, unti-unti bumababa ako sa every game kung sino ang nasa harapan namin.”
Reyes, however, won’t be deterred as he vowed a better Season 79 for UST.
“Hindi na ako papayag na hindi ako makapasok sa Final Four next year, yun ang itataga ko sa bato, bibitbitin ko sila sa Final Four next year,” Reyes said. “Kapos man akong dalhin sila sa Finals naging pang anim lang [ngayon].”
“By next year, dadalhin ko sila sa pang-apat, pipilitin ko mag-improve.”
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