We continue to look forward to Season 80 with Bernard Waje’s UAAP off-season reports assessing each team’s preparations and what that means for the up-coming conference.
University of the Philippines Lady Maroons
Off-season Grade: C+
Season 79 record: 7-7
Key Players: Isa Molde, Diana Carlos
Key Losses: Kathy Bersola. Nicole Tiamzon, Pia Gaizer , Jerry Yee
Key Additions: Roselyn Rosier, Remelyn Altomea, Lorie Lyn Bernardo
The Lady Maroons can’t seem to catch a break, after coming up short in the race to clinch a final four spot in UAAP Season 79, they’ve now lost their head coach as Jerry Yee quit during off-season. Headed into season 80 the Lady Maroons will be led by a new head coach which means a new program, new style and familiarity.
They will also be missing the services of Kathy Bersola, Nicole Tiamzon, and Pia Gaizer, who completed their last playing years last season. All count are big setbacks for UP since they are huge roles to fill – Bersola’s defensive presence in the middle, Tiamzon’s fire power and Gaizer’s excellent floor defense.
Yee’s program made this current UP squad one of the most versatile team in the league with several on the roster being able to play multiple positions, including Carlos, Estranero, Buitre and Dorog. Setter to libero, libero to spiker, open to middle, you name it and the Lady Maroons can switch it, but losing their big name players has disrupted this flexibility as was evident as they fell to (2-5) win-loss record in the PVL Open Conference.
It is not all bad for the Maroons as former rookie of the year Isa Molde and team captain Tots Carlos stepped up to the plate. Carlos led a late rally against Banko Perlas Spikers and gained a lot of praise, while Molde led UP in scoring this in the PVL Open Conference. Currently they’re testing the waters in the PVL Collegiate Conference beating teams like the NCAA champions – Arellano Lady Chiefs.
If UP Lady Maroons successfully transition to a new head coach and new roles, this team will still be effective and cannot be underestimated. With Estranero now manning the Libero position and Rose Cailing making the plays, can the Lady Maroons exceed expectation and be a final four contender again?