UAAP Season 81: I would not want to lose anymore -- Okumu
Mark Escarlote on Apr 04, 2019 12:15 PM
All games are must-win games. That's the only thing I'll say -- UP coach Godfrey Okumu
With the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament on its crucial stretch in the race for a Final Four berth, the University of the Philippines has just one mindset: treat every match as a must-win situation.
Lady Maroons head coach Godfrey Okumu has high hopes for his wards breaking into the semifinals after a three-year drought, but the mentor knows that they will need to hurdle their remaining four assignments first.
“All games are must-win games. That's the only thing I'll say,” said Okumu, whose squad barely escaped the tough resistance hurled at them by upset-conscious University of the East on Wednesday.
The Lady Maroons needed five sets to submit the Lady Warriors, 25-23, 20-25, 25-23, 24-26, 15-11, in a win sans injured hitter Isa Molde.
UP recovered from its previous straight sets loss to league-leading Ateneo de Manila University, which already has a foot in the semis, to improve to 6-4 win-loss record tied with other Final Four hopefuls Far Eastern University and University of Sto. Tomas.
But the road to the semis will be a challenging one for UP.
“As a coach even if we make it to the Final Four, which I believe we have very high chances of being in the Final Four, I would not want to lose anymore,” said Okumu.
UP will still have to face FEU on Saturday with Molde, who sustained a grade 1 left ankle sprain, still listed as a game time decision.
“It depends. We still have another three or four days. Hopefully she (Molde) will maybe dress up and come in, maybe as a sub. We don't know but we're hoping against hope that she'll be able to play,” said Okumu referring to Molde.
And if the Lady Maroons duplicate their first round win over the Lady Tamaraws, UP will then take on an equally dangerous team in UST, which handed the Diliman-based squad its first loss of the season in their first meeting.
After that, UP will face spoilers National University, which outlasted the Lady Maroons in five sets in the first round, and an also-ran Adamson University.
So even with UP currently sits in a good position to vie for a semis slot, Okumu wants his players to look at their remaining matches as do-or-die games to realize their goal.
“It doesn't mean if you're gonna fight to the last end, going to the fifth set, but I would like to make sure my team, that we win all the remaining games until the end,” said Okumu. “The fight is there, we will continue fighting.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles