UP Lady Maroons dedicate win to late alumni association president
MANILA, Philippines – After losing two straight games to University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University, the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons snapped their skid and earned the first sweep of the season at the expense of National University (NU) on Wednesday, April 4.
With UP's victory, the Lady Bulldogs remain winless in the second round after finishing round one on top of the standings.
Head coach Godfrey Okumu and the team even braced themselves for NU stalwart Jaja Santiago to shift to the utility position. However, the Lady Maroons continued to lock down Santiago-led NU until the end of the match.
"Yeah, he [Okumu] expected it," said Tots Carlos.
"We talked about it. We said: 'guys this is what's gonna happen.' And it happened. And... there's nothing else to say. It just happened the way I told them. So we prepared for Jaja on the outside, not in the middle," said Okumu.
4th year player Ayel Estrañero said that the Lady Maroons' victory meant so much more to them than keeping their Final 4 hopes burning as they are in mourning for the passing of the founder and president of the alumni association of the UP volleyball team Lourdes Guerrero last March 27.
"A sad day for the @OfficialUPWVT community, former President of the UP women’s alumni volleyball team, Lourdes Guerrero has passed. Party on in heaven! Salute! @UPWVT," tweeted former Lady Maroon and current UAAP volleyball commissioner Noreen Tiu Go last March 27.
The UPWVT mourn the loss of Lourdes Guerrero who joined our creator on 27 March 2018. She was a cornerstone in the team's support system and was there to take care of us when there was no one else. pic.twitter.com/U42mfOiXGR— UPWVT (@OfficialUPWVT) March 28, 2018
Guerrero fell into a two-year coma after she suffered an aneurysm and a stroke.
"Nagka-aneurysm siya and then parang humina na ang katawan and everything, nagka-stroke siya, sunod-sunod na. The family just really waited na siya mismo, mag-give up," explained Estrañero.
(She had an aneurysm and then her body became weak and everything, she had a stroke, then everything followed. The family just waited for her to give up.)
Being one of the veteran players of the team, Estrañero recalled that Guerrero was their first supporter when they had nothing. The former Lady Maroon gave everything to help the women's volleyball team get to where they are now.
"When no one was actually there to support us, when no one wanted to sponsor the team, Tita Lourdes gave money, really from her own pocket to support us, for food, for scholarships and everything. Our game today was really dedicated to her," said Estrañero.
"Dati kung wala kaming sasakyan, kotse niya. Kung walang driver, siya nagda-drive. Hindi lang siya sponsor, she was like a mother to us, a sister, a friend. Tita Lourdes was really everything to us."
(Before when we had no transportation, it was her car. If we had no driver, she's the one driving. She's not only a sponsor, she was like a mother to us, a sister, as friend. Tita Lourdes was really everything to us.)
The UP Lady Maroons have nothing else on their minds, but to finish the season strong. With their last two elimination games against Ateneo and University of the East up ahead, Okumu and the team will continue working hard.
"Finishing hard, that's what we are after for now. We cannot say it's over. Just, we have to finish well," said Okumu.
The Lady Maroons will face the Ateneo Lady Eagles on Saturday, April 7, at the Mall of Asia Arena. – Rappler.com