Lady Bulldogs trust new system
“Happy ako na dito sa PVL nakuha namin ang sistema na gusto talaga ni coach para sa amin. Tingin ko sobrang malaking maitutulong nito for the team.”
National University’s dominating championship run in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference is a testament that the Lady Bulldogs are already adapting to a new system under head coach Babes Castillo.
Just a few months since assuming the post left by Roger Gorayeb last summer after the 79th Season of the UAAP, Castillo was able to slowly guide the squad under his system and bring fresh brand of play for NU.
The PVL was his testing ground and the Lady Bulldogs delivered.
NU swept all of its nine games in the tournament including an emphatic demolition of Far Eastern University in the best-of-three Finals series.
Six-foot-5 veteran Jaja Santiago, Risa Sato, a healthier Aiko Urdas and Jorelle Singh, third year setter Jasmine Nabor and top libero Gayle Valdez responded well with Castillo’s system.
Even with a new coach the Lady Bulldogs were able to collect their third straight Collegiate Conference title since winning the defunct V-League’s last two editions in 2015 and 2016.
“Sabi nga namin, ang natutunan ko sa conference na ito is a matter of respect and mag-jive kami sa bagong sistema na ini-implement sa amin,” said Santiago, who won the Conference Most Valuable Player award. “Natutuwa ako kasi lahat kami sumunod doon and lahat kami nakuha namin ‘yun.”
Castillo is the graduating Santiago’s fourth coach in her five-year collegiate career. She was coached by Francis Vicente during her rookie year before going under the guidance of Dong Dela Cruz and Roger Gorayeb in the next three years.
So adapting to a new system isn't new to her.
“Natutunan ko na wala namang mawawala kung susundin ko ang bagong sistema and mamahalin namin kung ano ang meron kami ngayon,” she said. “Happy ako na dito sa PVL nakuha namin ang sistema na gusto talaga ni coach para sa amin. Tingin ko sobrang malaking maitutulong nito for the team.”
The championship is a big boost for NU as the Lady Bulldogs prepare for the most important battle when the 80th UAAP tournament rolls early next year.
NU has a two-year UAAP Final Four drought.
“Pagtatrabahuhan po talaga namin na makarating ng championship ngayong UAAP kasi yun po talaga ang goal naming,” said Nabor, named Finals MVP. “Kumabaga last UAAP po yun po ang plano namin pero may mga kulang pa po.”
“Parang simula ngayon hanggang mag-UAAP na pagtatrabahuhan po namin ang mga dapat naming pagtrabahuhan para makuha po namin ang goal naming,” she added.
“Sisiguraduhin po namin na nasa maayos kami na preparasyon,” Santiago seconded.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles