UAAP SEASON 81: I don’t want them to focus on the end goal -- Air Padda
Mark Escarlote on Feb 10, 2019 01:06 PM
I don't want them to get ahead of themselves. It's really taking one game at a time. Baby steps -- Adamson head coach Air Padda on the Lady Falcons' mentality in UAAP Season 81
Entering her third season as coach of the Adamson University Lady Falcons, Air Padda shifts to a different approach for her team in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
Padda in her first two years tried to inject a winning culture to a struggling squad but now with five rookies coming in and with the Lady Falcons on a rebuilding stage, the mentor wants to ease the pressure on her wards by just setting up a modest goal taking it one game at a time.
“You know, this season, I don't want them to focus on the end goal so much,” said Padda, who lost some key players from last season after Mylene Paat, starting setter Fhen Emnas and top hitter Jema Galanza exhausted all their playing years.
“I don't want them to get ahead of themselves. It's really taking one game at a time. Baby steps,” she added. “And controlling the things we have control over. There's never a way that we control what the other team is gonna do, but we control our effort.”
“We can focus on how tough we play, how hard we play, masipag, and family. Staying, sticking together as a family no matter what,” said Padda. “So those have been the three things that I've been kinda feeding into their heads.”
Expectations were high for Adamson last year with the return of Paat and Emnas after sitting out Season 79 but the weight of that pressure to return to the Final Four took its toll on the team. The Lady Falcons ended up at fifth to sixth place tied with University of the Philippines, winning six games while dropping eight and missing the semis for the fourth straight year.
“Oh man. Last season was really difficult for us. It felt like we really had a really strong team, and I think, it's safe to say that everyone knew we had a strong team,” Padda recalled. “But it was disappointing not to make it to the Final Four.”
Taking the lessons she learned from last UAAP season and the pre-season, Padda knows that setting up an end goal too early might be counterproductive considering the lineup she has at hand.
Though veterans from last year’s core in graduating Eli Soyud, Joy Dacoron, libero Thang Ponce, Chiara Permentilla and Bernadette Flora are making their return, the Lady Falcons also have rookies in its lineup with a couple filling up the starting positions. The new faces in Adamson’s roster are Trisha Genesis, Krich Macaslang, Nikka Yandoc, Chen Ave, Nina Balang and Hannah Infante.
“You know, some players can't handle that. That's a lot of pressure,” said Padda. “And with my lineup, there's five rookies in my lineup. And two of those might be starting spots. That's a lot of pressure for an 18-year old girl to come into and think she has to do something magical.”
“You don't have to do anything magical to get to the Final Four but what we do need to do is focus on coming in here every day and taking one game at a time. You know what I mean? And then, hopefully, we'll be in a position to be in the Final Four.”
As part of their build up for the season, Adamson joined the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference, finishing third, and competed in the PVL Open Conference despite losing Genesis and Soyud for most of the tournament due to injuries.
Adamson’s pre-season stints also bore fruit with players Soyud, Flora, setter MJ Igao, Ponce and Dacoron, as part of BanKo, getting individual recognitions in the PVL.
Using these as motivations, Adamson could be on the right track of making it into the Final Four… one small step at a time.
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