Karl Dimaculangan confident NU Lady Bulldogs will bounce back
MANILA, Philippines — Despite getting swept by a rampaging La Salle side in the elimination round, National University coach Karl Dimaculangan is sticking to the positives that can help them move forward in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.
NU made the necessary adjustments and pushed La Salle to its limits in the first two sets but still succumbed to its second straight loss, 24-26, 24-26, 16-25, on Saturday at Philsports Arena.
The Lady Bulldogs lost twice to the team that didn’t beat them last season in a span of four days and absorbed their first back-to-back losses since 2019 in Season 81.
But Dimaculangan, who ended the team’s 65-year title drought with a perfect Season 84, remained optimistic despite sliding to a 5-3 record in the No.3 spot.
‘WE WILL BOUNCE BACK’
NU coach Karl Dimaculangan and Vange Alinsug after losing to La Salle anew. #UAAPSeason85
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Saturday, March 25, 2023
“This is a different story compared to our first game because it was all La Salle. This game, the biggest factor was our end game lapses,” said the NU coach in Filipino. “It was a good game but we came up short. We have to move on and prepare for our next game.”
“We remain positive because we know that we will bounce back. This is just a learning experience for us. We will make adjustments,” he added.
Dimaculangan lauded reigning MVP Bella Belen, who gave her all with 17 points but she ended up in tears after losing two consecutive games to La Salle.
“Bella is different. She played her heart out and showed that she wanted to bounce back. We saw that she really wanted to win,” he said.
NU’s leading scorer Alyssa Solomon was one of the missing pieces after being limited to just eight points, as libero Jennifer Nierva had another tough receiving night with only six excellent receptions out of 21 attempts
Reigning best setter Lams Lamina also struggled with nine excellent sets, while Cess Robles was scoreless in limited action due to a swollen knee, although rookie spiker Vange Alinsug stepped up with 14 points and seven receptions.
Dimaculangan stressed that they have to work as a team and play with confidence.
“Everyone should step up and help each other. If we will look at La Salle, this team is different compared to last season. We lost several players, while they had a lot of key additions,” said the NU coach, who lost Ivy Lacsina after she decided to turn pro.
“We have to work harder. We have to show the right mentality in the end game. We can’t afford to repeat our mental lapses in the end game.”
“Our liberos need to be more confident and also all of our players. They are composed and we trust them. They just have to perform without doubting themselves,” he added.
NU, which committed 26 errors against La Salle’s 12, hopes to bounce back against the struggling University of the Philippines (1-7) on Saturday next week at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We have to correct our errors. It was a huge difference since the game was close. We won’t win with those errors in the crucial moments,” he said.