by Jerome Lagunzad
Game Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
12 noon — NU vs Ateneo (men’s)
4 p.m. — La Salle vs FEU (women’s)
Far Eastern University coach George Pascua showed up at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum press room with a brave face after losing to La Salle in straight set at the start of their best-of-three finals battle for the UAAP women’s volleyball crown Saturday.
“Kami pa rin ‘yan. Hindi pa tapos (ang laban),” he said, just moments after the erratic Lady Tamaraws dropped a 29-27, 25-21, 25-22 decision to the Lady Spikers.
Pascua blamed his team’s 34 errors for the defeat.
“Unfortunately, ‘yung errors namin, ‘yun ang marami kaya nanalo sila sa amin,” lamented Pascua.“Sabi ko nga sa players ko, ‘Hindi ako nate-threaten kung sino man ang kalaban ninyo. Mas nate-threaten ako kapag nag-errors kayo nang sobra-sobra.’”
Down by as many as five at 16-11, FEU charged right back behind sparkplug Heather Guino-o and top hitter Bernadeth Pons to inch ahead, 26-25.
However, Jeanette Villareal made a service error and La Salle took the hard-fought set.
“Kung hindi namin nakuha yung first set, hindi magkakaganito (ang outcome),” conceded La Salle coach Ramil De Jesus. “Kahit malayo o lamang ka na, hindi ka makakasiguro sa kanila. Bumabalik talaga sila.”
De Jesus and the rest of the Lady Spikers are already expecting nothing less than a tougher grind on Wednesday’s Game 2 as the Lady Tamaraws fight for dear life and try to force a winner-take-all showdown this weekend.
“‘Yung experience na nakuha namin sa nangyari ngayon, plus lessen ng errors, walang imposible,” he said. “Hindi kami hihinto hangga’t hindi natatapos ang laban, so back to drawing board ulit kami. Sana mangyari ulit sa amin, kasi same team naman. Basta kailangan lang magtrabaho lang ulit,” Pascua concluded.