Godfrey Okumu on Lady Maroons tailspin: I believe we still have a fight in us
MANILA, Philippines—University of the Philippines is in a tailspin, losing two straight in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Lady Maroons, who dropped to 3-3, are still in the fifth spot of the standings but University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle, and Far Eastern University are all ahead with an identical record of 4-2.
Still, head coach Godfrey Okumu has an unabashed positivity and he vowed that UP will bounce back after their horrendous five-set loss to National University, 25-17, 14-25, 17-25, 25-23, 17-15.
“We will. We will. We will,” said Okumu on his team’s chances of recovering from their slump Wednesday. “I believe we still have a fight in us.”
The Lady Maroons once shared the top spot with Ateneo just two games prior but their loss to the Lady Eagles and to the Lady Bulldogs saw them drop marginally in the ladder.
UP’s loss to the Lady Bulldogs, however, stung harder than anything Okumu has seen this season.
The Lady Maroons already held a 14-10 lead in the fifth set, needing just one more good ball to end the affair but NU had other plans and went on a mind-boggling 7-1 run to steal the win.
“We’re no longer a team in progress, we’re a team that is strong and a power to be reckoned with, but things do not go as we had planned,” said Okumu.
UP has a roster that boasts a veteran core of Ayel Estrañero, Diana Carlos, Isa Molde, Maristela Layug, and Justine Dorog but that experience faltered against the grit of NU’s youngsters.
Rookies Jennifer Nierva, Ivy Lacsina, and Princess Robles pulled the rug from underneath the Lady Maroons’ feet.
Robles and Lacsina had 17 and 16 points, respectively, while Nierva was an impenetrable defensive force with 26 excellent digs and 29 successful receptions.
Nierva’s tally of 29 successful receptions was three more than what the Lady Maroons collectively had.
“We had the fourth set and the fifth set but that just didn’t happen, we just lost it.”
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