MANILA -- The De La Salle Lady Spikers made life difficult for themselves on Wednesday, when they played the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament.
La Salle appeared ready to cruise to a quick win, especially after claiming a 25-10 win in Set 1. But they fell apart in a mess of errors in the second set, while allowing NU's powerful rookies -- Princess Robles and Ivy Lacsina -- to gain their rhythm.
The Lady Spikers still got the win, laboring to a 25-10, 20-25, 27-25, 25-22 triumph. But head coach Ramil de Jesus was far from impressed with their performance, especially with how they kept giving away points on their errors -- several of which came from the service line.
"Mga service error, mga unforced error, ang daming service error," lamented De Jesus after their four-set victory, which hiked La Salle's record to 3-0 in Season 81.
The timing of La Salle's errors irked de Jesus. Veteran middle blocker Aduke Ogunsanya sent her serve to the net while the Lady Spikers were clinging to a 22-19 lead in Set 4. Fortunately, they held on for the win.
For the multi-titled mentor, their service errors were especially frustrating because of how much they work on that particular skill. La Salle had entered the game as the fourth-best serving team in the league; they also had the UAAP's reigning Best Server in Desiree Cheng.
"Isa 'yun sa mga pinagbubuhusan ko ng oras," he noted.
"Sa player ko na 'yun eh," De Jesus also said. "Sabi ko sa kanila, pag ganoong pagkakamali, lalo na sa service, kayo na yun. Hindi na pwedeng isisi pa sa kalaban yun. Kayo yun, kayo yung lumabas sa service area, kayo magse-serve, lahat yun kayo gagawa."
"Kung mali yun, tayo ang may mali, hindi yung kalaban."
He even compared it to a basketball player who misses free throws -- only worse.
"Parang sa basketball, free throw yan, araw-araw mong ginagawa mo yan. Kung ma-shoot mo, eh di okay. Eh ang nangyari, kapos, hindi man lang tumama ng ring," he joked.
Their poor service game was crucial to NU's comeback in Set 2, said De Jesus. With the Lady Spikers settling for safe serves, the Lady Bulldogs were able to orchestrate plays and thus find their rhythm.
Fortunately for the Lady Spikers, their poise came through in the end game. After Ogunsanya's ill-timed service error in the fourth set, veteran spikers May Luna and Cheng came through with a pair of clutch hits to seal the win.
NU dropped to 1-2 with the loss, while the Lady Spikers claimed solo first place in the league standings.
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