Godfrey Okumu to instill 'passing philosophy' in Lady Maroons
MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons were on the verge of earning the first sweep in the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament when they took a 2-0 lead in their match against the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors on Sunday, February 4, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"It's not over yet, let's push," said new head coach Godfrey Okumu to the girls prior to the 3rd set.
But the Lady Maroons were unable to respond to this call as errors in receiving and passing plagued the team in the following sets, allowing the Lady Warriors to drive the match to a 5th and deciding set.
"First, naglaro talaga ng maayos ang UE. And 3rd and 4th set, sobrang dami din namin binigay kasi hindi kami makapasa, maka-first ball. So mahirap talaga 'pag walang first ball eh. Mahirapan 'yung set, mahirapan din mag-adjust 'yung spiker," said Lady Maroons captain Dianna "Tots" Carlos.
(First, UE played very well. And in the 3rd and 4th set, we gave a lot of [points] because we couldn't pass, make the first ball. So it was really hard without the first ball. It became difficult to set and it became hard for the spiker to adjust.)
Okumu, who helped the team train in Japan and Baguio in 2017, also agreed that the Lady Maroons have to work on their passing and defense as "passing is his philosophy."
"I kept on insisting on passing, that's my philosophy. In volleyball, if you don't pass, it's hard, it's very hard," said Okumu. "If you pass well, you execute. If you defend well, you score points. Let's pass, let's pass, and then defend aggressively."
After struggling in the 3rd and 4th sets, the Lady Maroons were able to finally execute Okumu's philosophy by limiting their errors against the fiery UE team. The Lady Maroons were able to hold the lead in the entire 5th set and Isa Molde managed to score back-to-back aces that sealed the victory for UP.
"You saw in the 5th set, we started fighting back, our defense came back, as you saw, our normal defense," said Okumu.
The UP Lady Maroons will face the defending champions De La Salle Lady Spikers at 4 pm on Saturday, February 10, at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan. – Rappler.com