MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines (UP) skipper Ayel Estrañero admitted that they were simply outplayed by the De La Salle University Lady Spikers in their second round meeting in the UAAP Season 79 women's volleyball tournament.
The Lady Maroons memorably pulled off a shock victory over La Salle when they first played back in February 2015, but the defending champions restored order with a 27-25, 25-11, 25-17 win on Sunday.
Estrañero, who had 23 excellent sets in the loss, said La Salle simply "did better than we did today."
Indeed, outside of a tight first set where the Lady Spikers lost control despite leading by six points, La Salle was in charge most of the way. They unloaded 11 service aces that took UP out of its rhythm on offense, and also registered nine kill blocks.
The most emphatic of those rejections came at the end of the third set, when Nicole Tiamzon's attack was sent back to wrap up the win for the Lady Spikers.
"Siyempre, nakapag-adjust din sila to the way we played, and siguro, nahirapan kami sa pag-adjust," said Estrañero. "Let's say na hindi kami nakapag-adjust sa kung ano man ang nilaro nila."
"It's just something that we should also learn from to help us in the next few games," she added.
It was a crucial defeat. UP dropped to 5-5 because of Sunday's results, and with games against National University, University of Santo Tomas, and Far Eastern University still on the horizon, their Final 4 chances took a dent.
The loss was also UP's fifth loss in their last six games, with the lone victory coming against University of the East. They have yet to recover the form that led them to a 4-0 start in the tournament.
Nevertheless, Estrañero believes the Lady Maroons can recapture the magic in time for the final stretch of the elimination round.
"Compared to the other games, we can say naman na we're performing better than the last few games," said the setter. "We're getting into a better condition right now, and sana, magtuloy-tuloy for the next few games."
"Hopefully, we won't let this loss affect our confidence as a team," Estrañero added.
UP will try to recover on Wednesday against winless Adamson University.
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