Bella Belen says NU Lady Bulldogs have lost their hunger
MANILA, Philippines—Bella Belen said National University needs to get its hunger back after an uncharacteristic straight-set loss to La Salle on Wednesday in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Lady Bulldogs, who dominated the Lady Spikers in their four meetings last year—including the finals—without dropping a single set, got a dose of their own medicine after suffering a 10-25, 15-25, 21-25 loss to end the first round that slid them down to third at 5-2.
“Siguro po sa aming mga players is yung hunger namin sa paglalaro parang medyo nawala po e. Kagaya ngayong game, makikita palang po sa La Salle na gusto nilang makuha itong game point by point kumpara po sa amin,” said the reigning MVP, who was the lone double-digit scorer for NU with 12 points on top of nine excellent receptions and seven digs.
(I think for us players we are kind of losing our hunger. It was evident this game that La Salle wanted it more, point by point, compared to us.)
“Siguro balik kami sa self namin, kung ano yung talagang ultimte goal namin this season para mabalik yung hunger namin sa paglalaro.”
(We have to go back to our usual selves and our ultimate goal this season to bring back our hunger in playing.)
NU completed a perfect campaign last season to end its 65-year title drought.
But seven games into this season, the Lady Bulldogs are nowhere near where they once were after being dragged into the distance by Adamson, losing to University of Santo Tomas in five sets and suffering another disappointing loss to La Salle to end the first round.
Fortunately for NU, there’s still some time left to regain its deadly form and Belen believes getting to the level where they want to be starts in practice.
“Our movements were shaky. There are games that we players don’t know if we can perform or not. I think it starts with our training on how we will move and execute,” she said in Filipino.
After cruising to the championship last year, NU coach Karl Dimaculangan said they expected a stiffer competition in defending their title.
“La Salle deserved to win this game. I mean, they’re very prepared. Their hustle, eagerness, as in they played complete,” he said in Filipino. “We will take it as a motivation and make necessary adjustments. Let’s see in the second round.”
“We will go back to our preparation. We have to prioritize our mental strength and try to execute our short preparation for Saturday,” said Dimaculangan.
Belen said accountability and acknowledging what their weaknesses are key factors as they try to be a much better team in the second round where they will face the Lady Spikers right away on Saturday at PhilSports Arena in Pasig.
“Mag–viewing po muna kami kahit masakit samin panoorin pero kailangan po e para mapaghandaan namin sila. Para makita namin yung naging pagkukulang namin this game.”
(We’ll do some viewing first even though it will be painful for us to watch the game. But we need to do it for us to prepare well against them and see where we lacked this game.)