UP coach Okumu on painful loss: 'Things did not happen as planned'
MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines (UP) put up a late, gallant fight against Ateneo but it wasn't enough as the Lady Maroons started the match hardly looking like they conquered defending champion La Salle.
"We tried, but things did not happen as planned," said UP head coach Godfrey Okumu after the Lady Maroons' surprise straight-set drubbing in UAAP women's volleyball action on Sunday, March 10.
"You could see we did not play our game. We lost focus, we were not in the game."
The Lady Maroons had to deal with health problems even before the game started, but Okumu felt thankful that his brave players – particularly Justine Dorog and Remelyn Altomea – still decided to return to the court.
"I’ll just say we’re grateful again to have players like Dorog, very strong heart, always ready to go when called upon. We’re just lucky, that’s what I can say," said Okumu.
UP’s afternoon started with troublesome news of Justine Dorog being rushed to a hospital after fainting from menstrual cramps a few hours before the match. She was bleeding and needed to be stretched out.
Okumu remained calm and even hoped for her return in the massive match versus the Lady Eagles.
Dorog eventually returned to the arena and was subbed in during the 1st set. She would go on and play the entire match to tally 4 points.
Altomea, on the other hand, went down in the 2nd set in what looked liked a right ankle injury.
Just like Dorog, Altomea returned to the match after receiving treatment in the UP locker room. The libero immediately ran back to the playing court and would contribute 11 excellent digs and 15 successful receptions.
Unfortunately, the Lady Maroons' late rally wound up short as they bowed out in straight sets.
But the Kenyan head coach would rather focus on the lessons learned from the loss.
"Sometimes a loss like this makes us know as a team how vulnerable we are," said Okumu. "It doesn't matter how strong we think we are, it doesn't matter how many players we have in our team. Sometimes we're vulnerable, and that by itself, we need to address that part.
"I believe coming next game we'll go all out."
The Lady Maroons will look to bounce back against the NU Lady Bulldogs on Wednesday, March 13, at the Filoil Flying V Centre. – Juro Morilla/Rappler.com