Not even halfway through UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball tournament and NU already went through roadblocks that can make others throw in the towel and just go through the motions.
From a sudden switcheroo in the coaching staff just two months before the competition’s kick off, to two key players deemed ineligible to play, to losing the services of the team’s lone setter due to a knee injury, the odds are just stacked against the Lady Bulldogs who have only ten girls left in the roster.
But through all these, the F. Jhocson crew kept on fighting, surprising, and showing everyone that they still have what it takes to challenge even the three-time defending champion De La Salle Lady Spikers. Despite a four-set loss to the defending champs Wednesday, the Lady Bulldogs gained rave reviews for their gritty effort.
Even the NU management is impressed.
“Kanina nag text ‘yung upper management na kahit natalo, maganda ‘yung pinakita. Proud sila sa naging resulta ng game kanina,” shared NU women’s volleyball team head coach Norman Miguel. “Sabi din ng men’s team basketball coach, inspiring daw ‘yung nangyare lalo nung nanalo kami sa UE.”
Their 1-2 win-loss record may belie it but in three outings, NU continues to become a crowd favorite not only because they are considered underdogs, but also because of their unrelenting spirit to keep fighting through the adversities.
Key to keeping his wards’ morale up, according to Miguel, is reminding them that at this point, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“Instead of dwelling dun sa bad situations, mag-focus na lang tayo dun sa pwede pang mangyari positively,” shared the mentor.
“Ang lagi kong bilin sa kanila, we have nothing to lose. Basta ibigay mo lang ang best mo. Wala naman tayong ine-expect because of the situation. Pag may laban, lalaban. Pag nanalo, good. Pag hindi, basta maganda ang laban you make the NU community proud,” he added.
Against La Salle, NU rookies Princess Robles and Ivy Lacsina combined for 34 points while their fellow freshman, libero Jennifer Nierva, tallied 25 excellent digs and 14 excellent receptions.
With these numbers, some can’t help but look forward to the bright future of the team especially with the return of Joyme Caganda and Risa Sato as well as the entry of Margot Mutshima.
For now, however, Miguel wants his squad to focus on the task at hand with basic volleyball as their mindset.
“Number one rule lang namin ngayon is basic volleyball lang. Huwag gawing complicated. Hindi kaya maging complicated dahil kulang sa tao. And I think nagwo-work naman,” he said.
Next on NU’s plate is the winless Adamson University Lady Falcons in a match happening at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum Sunday, 4PM.