Still not the 'best UP,' says coach Okumu
ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – It's easy to tag University of the Philippines' surprisingly dominant win over La Salle as the Lady Maroons' "best" performance of the season.
But in UP head coach Godfrey Okumu’s eyes, the Lady Maroons aren't quite there yet.
"Is this the ‘peak UP?' No," said the Kenyan mentor after his team stunned the defending champions in straight sets in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament on Sunday, March 24.
He quickly added, "I still feel there’s more to come, we can still play better. It’s just a matter of time."
When asked about the rare feat of sweeping the Lady Spikers, Ayel Estrañero shared that the team just prepared well and executed their coaches' game plan.
She also indicated that they have a stronger mentality heading into the second round following two stunning losses against National University and Ateneo.
"We’re just enjoying the game and hindi namin na-realize na malayo na score nila or nahabol na pala namin sila," said Estrañero.
(We just enjoyed the game and didn’t focus on the scoreboard.)
"We’re happy because it’s our day today," added rookie middle blocker Lorie Bernardo.
Okumu also noted the uncharacteristic errors that doomed the Lady Spikers.
"Why [are] they saying it’s our lucky day? I think and they believe La Salle is a very good team, very disciplined team. It’s not easy to play against them," he said. "They are a team that serves well, but you could see that they served many balls out. They pushed the ball out and that’s what gave us the game."
The Lady Maroons' schedule, though, does not get easier as they face the league-leading Ateneo Lady Eagles on Saturday, March 30, at the MOA Arena.
"We have to go stronger than today," said Okumu as the Lady Maroons shoot for their sixth win. – Juro Morilla/Rappler.com