UAAP volleyball: George Pascua ‘still proud’ of young FEU team despite early exit
MANILA, Philippines — Far Eastern University coach George Pascua remained proud of his young Lady Tamaraws despite bombing out of Final Four contention in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Lady Tamaraws won’t be in the postseason for the first time since 2014 after absorbing their ninth defeat in 10 games at the hands of Adamson Lady Falcons, 17-25, 17-25, 16-25, on Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Pascua, who steered FEU to the finals during his first season in 2018, accepted their fate, sticking on the learnings that will hone his young team for the next seasons to come.
“I am still proud of these girls. They gave their best. It wasn’t just enough for us to get wins,” said the veteran FEU coach in Filipino. “We’re looking forward to bouncing back. From our record in this tournament, we will learn a lot. Hopefully in God’s time, our team will rise again.”
“Our progress does not stop this season. Our learnings this year will be our motivation to move forward next season,” he added.
The Lady Tamaraws lost Lycha Ebon and Martha Mora after the first round as the pair bid farewell to the team to pursue other opportunities, according to athletic director Mark Molina.
Shiela Kiseo, who was listed as interim captain in lieu of Ebon, was saddened by the early exit of her seniors, but the responsibility she now has to carry makes her more motivated to be a good leader for this young team.
“We were sad after what happened to ate Lycha because she’s our leader. But it’s also a motivation for me to lead and make my team proud even if they are no longer with us,” Kiseo, who had eight points and 11 excellent digs, told reporters in Filipino.
“When coach assigned me as the captain. I really want to help my team and embrace the responsibility given to me. All of us have to do our responsibilities, as well, for the team.”
Rookie spiker Chenie Tagaod also rose to the occasion for FEU, emerging as the team’s leading scorer and a top 10 scorer in the first round, where she averaged 10.85 points in the first seven games.
“We’re not that tall. But we all know that we will keep on fighting. I think we just lack hard work inside the court that resulted in this (elimination),” said Tagaod after dropping 14 points. “We will work harder in training and be braver in our remaining games.”
With four matches remaining starting against University of the Philippines on Thursday, Pascua is seeking to unleash the potential of his wards even when they are already out of contention.
“We will try to unlock the potential of our players so we can see our best options for the next season,” he said. “I still give them my two thumbs up without a doubt and regrets. I trust them one hundred percent.”