UAAP 80 Volleyball Preview: UP Maroons to rely on solid core under new coach
Head coach: Godfrey Okumu
Last season: 7-7
Key holdovers: Ayel Estrañero, Isa Molde, Diana Carlos, Justine Dorog
Key losses: Nicole Tiamzon, Pia Gaiser, Kathy Bersola
University of the Philippines is heading into UAAP Season 80 bearing in mind that all teams are on equal footing.
That is how new head coach Godfrey Okumu is treating the competition this season in his first year at helm.
“All the teams have the same aim,” said Okumu, who replaced former mentor Jerry Yee. “Everybody wants to win, so I cannot say this team is strong or this team is weak. We are after the same thing.”
But he can say for sure that UP is not to be messed with.
“We are also a team that should be reckoned with just like any other team,” he said.
The Lady Maroons are hoping to return to the Final Four this year, after a failed bid in Season 79 where they enjoyed a blistering 4-0 start before dropping four straight games then settling for a 7-7 record.
Okumu will rely on the team’s core that has been together for three years with the likes of Ayel Estrañero, Diana Carlos, Isa Molde, and Justine Dorog leading the Lady Fighting Maroons.
One of the things that Okumu brings to the table, meanwhile, is his mastery of quick adjustments.
“I don’t want to plan too much, and when the day comes, the opponents could change the way they play,” said Okumu. “So more often than not, I play it like a chess game. You make your move then I make my move.”