The NU Lady Bulldogs’ biggest weakness came back to haunt them
MANILA, Philippines - The National University Lady Bulldogs found themselves sitting pretty at the top of the UAAP ladder, the 3-0 record providing a quick moment to collect themselves before prancing to the next battle.
Head coach Roger Gorayeb knew defending champs La Salle would turn out to be a tough roadblock for the desired fourth win on Sunday, February 19, as one sign of weakness from either side could spell the outcome of the match.
The Lady Spikers played at their own pace last Sunday, but what became the turning point of the evening was how they managed to unveil NU's kryptonite.
After his side suffered a 3-set loss to La Salle, their first defeat this season, Gorayeb headed back to the dugout - his face a mask of varying emotions.
“Para kaming manok, sarili namin ang kalaban namin,” mustered the NU head coach. (We were like chickens, our enemy was ourselves.)
He then spent 5 minutes, give or take, sharing a few anecdotes which included how reception drills take up the majority of their time during training.
The Lady Bulldogs gave away 14 markers through service aces and only managed to put up one block throughout the whole match, as La Salle exploded for 34 excellent spikes. The team saw only 5 players on the stats sheet, with skipper Jaja Santiago coming in as the lone double-digit scorer for NU.
Interestingly, Gorayeb also pointed out how their weakness haunted them from the first point until the final point of the match - which both happened to be service aces for La Salle.
“Alam nila ‘yung weakness nila, but instead of recovering from that, ayun nag tuloy-tuloy,” said Gorayeb about NU’s faulty reception. “Ang hirap buhayin ‘yung patay na eh. Ang aga nila sumerrender.”
(They know their weakness, but instead of recovering, it just went on. It’s hard to keep alive in the game, when the ball’s already dead. They surrendered early.)
The Lady Bulldogs stood out as early contenders for the women’s volleyball crown, with veterans Santiago and Jorelle Singh leading the way for a promising pack of talent. After the straight set loss sent them crashing back to earth, NU must now discover a way to keep the squad’s weak point at bay.
Gorayeb believes this season still has a long way to go. He notes, however, that his team must still watch out for the opponents hungry for victory - starting with FEU this Saturday.
“Maaga pa naman. ‘Yung mga susunod naming kalaban, gustung-gusto rin manalo. If we go there and show them our weakness, talagang i-cacapitalize nila.”
(It’s still early, but our next opponents- they all want to win. If we go there and show them our weakness, they will really capitalize on it.)
“You should be tough mentally and physically,” he shared. “You can be physically not tough, pero mentally, dapat tough ka lagi.”
“’Pagdating sa ensayo, it’s 99% physical and 1% psychological. Pero pagdating sa laro, bumabaliktad ‘yan.”
(You can be physically not tough, but you always have to be tough mentally. During practice, it’s 99% physical and 1% psychological. But when it comes to game day, it goes the other way around.) – Rappler.com