UAAP Season 81: Sobra sa ini-expect – Miguel on NU’s campaign
Mark Escarlote on Apr 27, 2019 07:05 PM
Di ba ang daming reason para gumive up? Pero hindi. Heto kami nagsama-sama, nag-stay put -- National U coach Norman Miguel on his young wards
National University head coach Norman Miguel gave a good assessment of his team as the Lady Bulldogs overachieved in a very challenging season for the rookie-laden squad.
The mentor lauded his squad’s resiliency and gallant stand in UAAP Season 81 women’ volleyball tournament despite the adversities NU faced throughout the tournament.
“Para sa amin malaking achievement na ang four wins,” said Miguel after NU finished the season with a 4-10 win-loss record.
“Para sa akin sobra ito sa ini-expect,” added Miguel, whose squad closed their campaign with a 25-27, 17-25, 25-20, 16-25, loss to semifinals-bound University of Sto. Tomas.
Coming into the season, the Lady Bulldogs, who saw the exit of Jaja Santiago and Aiko Urdas, made a coaching change just two months before the start of the tournament as NU parted ways with Babes Castillo last December and was replaced by Miguel.
The Lady Bulldogs also lost their veteran core with Jasmine Nabor, Jorelle Singh and Roma Doromal skipping the season for personal reasons while middle Risa Sato was deemed ineligible to play because of academic deficiencies.
It left Miguel with only a handful of players led by veterans Joni Chavez, Audrey Paran and graduating Roselyn Doria and rookies Princess Robles, Ivy Lacsina, libero Jennifer Nierva and setter Joyme Cagande.
Fate played a cruel joke on the Lady Bulldogs as Cagande sustained a season-ending knee injury in NU’s debut game against Far Eastern University.
“Bago pa lang mag-start ‘yung season alam naman namin composition ng team na puro rookies and then Risa Sato wasn’t able to play then Joyme got injured,” said Miguel.
“Maski di pa nangyayari injury ni Joyme, nag-uusap kami ng coaching staff na di kami nagi-expect na we will be in the Final Four,” he added. “Actually, to be honest, iniisip namin nina coach Reg (Diego), wag lang kaming winless in two rounds. Yun lang ang para sa amin basta ito muna ang mangyari, basta di mangyari na 0-0 sa two rounds because of the composition of the team compared sa other teams na competitive sila sa lineup nila.”
After losing their opening game and Cagande out for the season, NU converted Chavez from libero to setter and tasted victory at the expense of University of the East.
“And it happened. Nu’ng nagkaron na kami ng first win sobrang tumaas yung momentum na kaya pala ma-increase namin yung ano nu’ng game namin and baka madagdagan ang wins namin,” said Miguel.
The Lady Bulldogs then tripped University of the Philippines for a two-win first round run. NU had a string of misfortunes to open the second round before scoring a win over its first round tormentor Adamson.
Then came the biggest win of the Lady Bulldogs when NU showed UP the exit door in the race for the Final Four that completed the young team’s domination of the Lady Maroons, who coming into the season were one of the title contenders following their pair of offseason championships.
“Alam mo sa totoo lang itong team namin, we all have the reasons para gumive up. Unang una panglimang coach na nila ako, panglima o pang-apat? O whatever. Tapos may na-injure, ineligible to play, merong mga injuries during training pa, during the game. Ang dami tapos from 11 naging 10 naging 9. Di ba ang daming reason para gumive up? Pero hindi,” he said. “Eto kami nagsama-sama, nag-stay put.”
“Those are the things that we have to be thankful for na marami kaming natutunan sa journey na ito,” Miguel said.
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