UP coach Jerry Yee on how they beat Ateneo
MANILA, Philippines – The UP Lady Maroons scored their first win over the Ateneo Lady Eagles since January 17, 2007 with an impressive 4-set victory on Sunday, March 6, at the San Juan Arena.
The win improved UP to 5-3 in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament, giving it solo spot of the third seed in the league standings.
Ateneo dropped to 6-2, tying with La Salle for the top spot. The Lady Eagles are now 1-6 in their last 7 sets and have suffered two straight defeats since winning 24 straight games.
“We weren’t the ones doubting for one week. It was the other team,” UP head coach Jerry Yee said post game in Tagalog about what his message to the Lady Maroons was before the statement win in front of a packed crowd.
“It was their first loss since [the 2014 UAAP Finals]. That’s been pretty long,” he explained, referring to Ateneo’s prior game - a defeat to La Salle last Saturday, which snapped the Lady Eagles’ winning streak.
“There’s some doubt. That’s what I sold to the girls, so it’s all about selling the strategy to the girls. They bought it and held on.”
UP had more spikes than Ateneo, 45-42, more blocks, 7-5, and more points off errors, 35-31.
The Lady Maroons had 4 players score in double-figures, led by the 15 of star rookie Isa Molde. Diana Carlos and Nicole Tiamzon scored 12 each, while team captain Kathy Bersola scored 10 as UP earned a huge morale-boosting victory.
How did they do that? According to Yee, the Lady Maroons followed the template La Salle established.
“We were just copying La Salle,” he said in the press room at the San Juan Arena. “They were serving long. They were serving hard. The template was there to beat [Ateneo], so we have to use it when available. That’s it.”
In La Salle’s win over Ateneo, it had more attacks, 33-29, and service aces, 13-6.
“We had service strategies,” the head coach added later on, “so when we were turning it around and found something that worked, we tried to stick with it, and then it kept continuing, [so] good for us.
“They couldn’t execute their plays,” Yee also said about the Lady Eagles, who were led by the 19 points of two-time UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez, “our plays looked good because it came from easy passes.”
UP, however, isn’t going to use this victory as a reason to be satisfied with how it’s performing. The head coach still sees room for improvement.
The team is only 8 games into its schedule and a Final Four spot isn’t assured yet, especially with both FEU and NU having 4-4 records. The Lady Maroons now also trail the Lady Eagles and Lady Spikers by just one game in the loss column, putting them in the hunt for one of the top two, twice-to-beat seeds.
“We are just playing. We are still trying to learn. We are trying to add things to our game. We are trying to explore, so little-by-little improvement, as long as it’s improvement, we’re happy with that.”
The next chance to improve takes place on Saturday, March 12, when the Lady Maroons face the 3-5 Adamson Lady Falcons - a team aiming to stay alive in the Final Four chase. – Rappler.com