De Jesus rues La Salle's reliance on super rookie Dela Cruz
MANILA, Philippines – The La Salle Lady Spikers had a chance to take a short break heading to the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball playoffs but somehow managed to muck it up.
After flexing dominance in the 2nd and 3rd sets, the reigning three-time UAAP champions collapsed to a five-set loss to fellow Final Four contender FEU Lady Tamaraws.
Now the Lady Spikers have to fend off the white-hot UST Golden Tigresses in a do-or-die match for the twice-to-beat semifinals advantage on Wednesday, May 1.
There was plenty of blame to go around after the crucial loss, and 11-time champion coach Ramil de Jesus put the team veterans on the hot seat.
"Ang nangyayari kasi parang si Jolina (dela Cruz) 'yung nagbubuhat ng team," he said after the game. "Sabi ko sa kanila, 'di naman puwedeng lahat ng burden ibibigay natin sa kanya. Team effort kailangan."
(What's happening is Jolina seems to be carrying the team. I told them we're not supposed to give her all the burden. We need team effort.)
The super rookie did what she could in Sunday's marathon with FEU, dropping a team-high 22 points with 6 aces to boot.
"Marami namang malaking bagay na puwedeng itulong sa team para 'di na pumuntos," De Jesus continued. "Mag-dig ka, mag-serve ka, dumepensa ka diyan, rumeceive ka, mag-block ka, marami."
(You can do a lot of big things to help the team if you can't score. You dig, serve, play defense, receive, block, there's a lot to do.)
Heading to their extra match on Wednesday, De Jesus told his players to toughen it up and forget about their recent loss so they can secure that twice-to-beat advantage once and for all.
"Mabigat, pero kailangang tanggapin," he said. "Sila rin naman 'yung may pagkukulang sa loob. Ganoon talaga."
(It's tough, but we have to accept it. They were the ones who had lapses on the court. It is what it is.)
"Kung gusto n'yong manalo, paghirapan n'yo. 'Di matutupad 'yung four-peat n'yo kung ayaw n'yong manalo."
(If you want to win, work hard for it. That 4-peat won't come true if you don't want to win.) – Rappler.com