UAAP Season 82: UE Lady Warriors moving forward
Mark Escarlote on Feb 07, 2020 10:52 AM
(Photo: Arvin Lim)
Second year head coach Karl Dimaculangan knows for a fact that the University of the East is up for a challenging UAAP Season 82 after the departure of his key players from last year.
Sustaining the gains they collected last year, although modest with just three wins in 14 games, will be a tall order for the Lady Warriors especially after last season’s Best Setter Lai Bendong, Best Libero and national team member Kath Arado, do-it-all hitter Judith Abil and Roselle Baliton have all exhausted their playing years.
But the mentor remains confident that UE will be a competitive team this year with the right mix of veterans led by top hitter Mean Mendrez and vastly-improved middle Seth Rodriguez and young bloods raring to showcase their talents to help the cause.
“Mas na-feel naman ng mga senior players, na-feel nila na kaya naman nila,” said Dimaculangan. “Ngayon, mas competitive naman 'yung team kahit puro rookie lalo na sa key positions, libero and setter. So 'yun nga, parang tinitingnan namin kung papaano 'yung magagawa naming mix sa kanila with veterans.”
Also with big shoes to fill are sophomore Jasckin Babol and rookie Jel Quizon.
Babol will be taking over the role of Arado while Quizon, a recruit from Adamson U high school, is this year’s starting playmaker.
“Sabi rin ng mga coaches ko na wag i-feel ang pressure, i-take ko lang yun as a challenge,” said Babol, who saw limited time on court last year as a reliever for the prized libero Arado. “Sa sarili ko pupunan ko ang pagkawala ni Ate Kath sa team kaya kailangan kong mag-double time sa pagkukulang ko like sa skills.”
Dimaculangan doesn’t want to promise anything but stresses that this Lady Warriors squad won’t be a pushover team.
“Di lang kami basta magko-compete ngayon. Mas mataas ang tatargetin namin. Ta-try namin ‘yung Final Four. Mahirap pero ita-try namin mag-improve,” he said.
EYES ON YOU:
Where Mean Mendrez goes, UE follows.
The Lady Warriors will rely heavily on Mendrez this year not only on offense and defense but also for her leadership inside the court.
Named as team captain in her swan song, Mendrez, with the help of another senior in Seth Rodriguez, will try to lead UE to more wins and better finish.
Mendrez is up to the challenge of guiding a young team that lost most of its veterans last year.
“Sinasanay ko na sarili ko noon, na tinanggap ko na isa ako sa magiging senior. Kailangan maging vocal na ako sa kanila kung ano 'yung nararamdaman ko, kung paano ko sila iha-handle,” said Mendrez.