UAAP Season 81: They’re not an easy team -- Okumu on UE
Mark Escarlote on Feb 16, 2019 06:10 PM
We have to accept that it’s very hard to play against a very strong defense -- UP coach Godfrey Okumu
University of the Philippines head coach Godfrey Okumu was not surprised when it took his wards five grueling sets to shoot down the pesky University of the East.
The mentor, actually, expected that kind of tough match.
“No, we’ve always struggled with UE,” said Okumu after the Lady Maroons’ 25-12, 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12, escape over the Lady Warriors Saturday to open their campaign in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The sophomore coach recalled the same struggle they had against UE during their pre-season meeting in the Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam.
“I remember last season I was sitting here the same way we won against them. When we played in the PSL we won 3-1 but it was all struggle,” he said.
UP needed to come back from a 1-2 match deficit before hanging tough in the tight fifth set behind the veteran trio of Isa Molde, Tots Carlos and Justine Dorog.
“Siyempre naga-adjust din sila sa amin. And lumakas din naman sila compared last season,” said Molde, who had 23 points with 19 coming off kills. “Lalaban at lalaban din naman sila kasi may iba sa kanila na ga-graduate na eh.”
Okumu also stressed that UE’s best asset is its floor defense and the presence of graduating libero Kath Arado. The defense specialist scattered 32 digs and had 18 receptions. Me-Anne Mendrez got 18 digs while Judith Abil posted 21 receives.
“They have a good libero, she’s doing a good job. We have to accept that it’s very hard to play against a very strong defense,” he said. “We have to think on how we will execute in spiking. They played well and they are a very good team. They’re not an easy team.”
UP hitter Tots Carlos shared the same sentiment.
“Iba kasi talaga kapag mayroon kang first ball eh. Sobrang galing ni Kath kaya medyo nahirapan kami kaya medyo nag-lay low din kami sa defense namin so nahirapan kami lalo na laging nagi-struggle ang setter kaya nahihirapan din siyang mag-distribute,” she said.
Okumu also rued UP’s atrocious number of errors. The Lady Maroons threw away 42 points off their miscues.
“The sets we won we’re very, very up to standard but the sets we lost we gave away balls easily, and we have many unforced errors that we should correct. That’s what we talked about the unforced errors,” he said.
“I think in the fifth set the opponent had one unforced error and we have around five or six,” Okumu added. “You can see the difference there and we need to work on that.”
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