NU expected to challenge league veterans in 2nd round
MANILA, Philippines – National University (NU) head coach Norman Miguel couldn't ask for anything more as his rookie-laden Lady Bulldogs gave a glimpse of their potential in the first round of the UAAP women's volleyball tournament.
Composed of the core of the NU-Nazareth School squad that won 4 straight UAAP girls titles, the Lady Bulldogs shocked preseason favorite University of the Philippines and also gave defending champion La Salle and league No. 1 Ateneo a scare.
"Nagustuhan namin 'yung game kahit talo kasi nakita naman namin na I think mukhang nahirapan naman kahit papano sa amin 'yung kalaban namin, 'yung Ateneo, naka-set pa kami and almost winning the 3rd set," shared Miguel after NU finished 2-5 in the first round.
(We liked how the team played even if we lost, since we challenged Ateneo by taking a set and we almost won the 3rd set.)
Miguel thinks his rookies' championship experience in the juniors division proved to be a key factor.
"Para sa akin, malaki na 'yung in-improve namin considering na [majority] rookies talaga 'yung team namin eh," he said. "Lumalabas na 'yung character nila at na-maximize na rin namin 'yung experience nila noong high school sila."
(For me, there is a big improvement in our team considering that majority of our team is composed of rookies. The team's character showed in the first round and the rookies maximized their experience in high school.)
In the past seasons, NU has been known to collapse in the second round. But Miguel and the young Lady Bulldogs will make sure that they get past the curse and build on their promising start. (READ: 'Ghost of the past' haunts NU Lady Bulldogs, says Castillo)
"As the head coach, alam mo na dapat talaga makita mo 'yung team mo na paangat, hindi pababa," said Miguel. "Ayaw namin na maulit 'yung nangyari last year na from top, pababa. We will try our best na paangat na kami this time."
(As the head coach, you need to see your team go up. We just want to avoid our scenario last year where we were on top of the standings but collapsed. We will try our best to excel this time.) – Wilmyn Migguel See/Rappler.com
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