Thoughts after UP’s loss to UST
by rick olivares
Watching UP underperform this UAAP Women’s Volleyball season especially after their long slide after the 4-0 start, my mind kept racing back to a thought that I had during the previous V-League Reinforced Conference that preceded the UAAP by a couple of months.
My thought – “sunog na.”
Yep. I am no sports science person and wouldn’t begin to pretend I know anything about this but I do know a team that seems to have peaked when I see it. I felt that way about UP then and following their three-set loss to UST (25-20, 25-21-25-16), I sure as heck believe it now.
And of course, that isn’t entirely the only factor. It has been an up and down season for many save for Tots Carlos, the only consistent player on the roster. Yet even during their loss to UST, Carlos played subpar as she scattered her eight points across three sets. Her presence was hardly felt. Clearly, the malaise that has set in has affected her too.
While Gaiser was hardly a factor during UP’s 4-0 run as she was hurt then, the answer remains a yes. It is different when you lose a key cog. It is different when you know she can come in for the next game as opposed to not having another option. Having said that, injuries are a part of the game. So Gaiser’s injury is one.
One point I have previously raised and stressed was the Fighting Lady Maroons handling the expectations heaped upon them. It is something they will have to learn rather painfully. But this will serve them in good stead in the future. And of course, just to be sure, we aren’t writing them off this season. It still isn’t done. Who knows? Things can turn around.
But more to my “sunog na” thought.
The Fighting Lady Maroons played the entire 13th season of the V-League. Yes, all three conferences following the emotional and hard fought 78th season of the UAAP. And if I recall correctly, they also played in another tournament as well.
I thought they looked good during the early stages of the 13th V-League season. There were portions when the bench was the one they were playing to give the starters rest. They contended for the collegiate conference where they finished third. Then come the third, “sunog na” was my thought.
Nothing wrong with it except that I thought that they were playing at such a high level for over a year and in my limited knowledge and experience about such is, one cannot sustain that form and mindset. Yes, I know that the coaching staff -- who I tremendously respect and admire -- took great pains to ensure there was rest and recovery, I just thought that they played at an uncommonly high level for so long and for a young team, the pace, in my opinion, hurt.
Volleyball is so huge now and everyone seems to want to have their own tournament. People seem to cannot get enough. But there is such a thing as fatigue in every manner – physical fatigue, donor fatigue, fatigue from watching. There are other things in life too you know.
Sports pundits say that the second round is where teams adjust. That’s hogwash. You all adjust by the game. By the opening weekend, everyone has watched everyone. You know what to expect. Not many coaches keep some cards hidden. Through the years we only saw Roger Gorayeb (then with Ateneo) and Ramil De Jesus unveil them at a certain time.
So the second round should be where consistency should set in. The adjustments made early on and the consistency you develop propels you to the Final Four and hopefully, beyond.
Yet again… it isn’t over. There’s a game to be played and should UP advance, they’ll go for broke. It might reinvigorate them. Who knows? They can just turn this around at the right time. Should they accomplish that, they’ll have written the book on what Cinderella finish is all about.