UAAP: UST coach rues errors, but urges Tigresses to move on

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 01 2019 05:45 PM

UAAP: UST coach rues errors, but urges Tigresses to move on 1
The UST Golden Tigresses squandered an opportunity to rise to solo second in the league standings. Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses were understandably emotional after letting a grand opportunity slip through their collective fingers on Sunday afternoon.

With a chance to claim solo second in the UAAP Season 81 standings, the Tigresses instead bowed to defending champion De La Salle University in four sets, after squandering a victory in the opening frame. Their 6-4 record dropped them to fourth place, just half a game ahead of University of the Philippines (5-4) in what is shaping up to be a tight race to the Final 4.

For UST coach Kungfu Reyes, that tears were shed by his players after the loss can only mean good things for their team moving forward.

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"Isa 'yung magandang indication na nararamdaman kasi namin 'yung talo," he said. "Alam mo 'yun – nakawala sa kamay namin."

"Good indication na ito na, tumataas na 'yung level in terms of character, 'yung attitude namin towards game, so nararamdaman namin 'yung talo," he added.

It was a painful loss in more ways than one for the Golden Tigresses. They were hoping to beat La Salle for the second time in Season 81, having already swept the Lady Spikers in straight sets in the first round.

A 25-21 win in the opening frame took them closer to their goal, but it turned out to be the high point of the afternoon for the España spikers. A multitude of errors, as well as La Salle's superb net defense, got them off-kilter in the succeeding sets, and the Lady Spikers went on to claim a four-set victory.

"Four sets, we contributed 44 errors sa kalaban," lamented Reyes.

Limiting errors has been crucial for UST, especially as they are already missing the services of injured spiker Milena Alessandrini. They have stayed afloat without the Fil-Italian spiker, thanks to the high-scoring ways of Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure, and solid contributions from their supporting cast including Dimdim Pacres and Caitlyn Viray.

Against La Salle, however, their usual modus didn't work out as well as it had before: Rondina put up 19 points, and Laure had 20. However, the rookie ace also committed a whopping 18 attack faults, and Reyes didn't get much from his other players. Viray was their next highest-scorer, with 8 points.

"Yung distribution ng palo, andoon naman pero 'yung contribution ng points, doon lang kumukuha kami sa outside," said Reyes. "Yung middle namin, engaged siya ng first two sets, then sa remaining, sa transition nawawala ulit."

"Na-ready naman sila sa laro na ito, kaya lang 'yung step-up na hinahanap namin para doon sa ibang department, nagkulang," he also said. "Yung depensa, coverage, mga sa non-scoring, nakatulong 'yung iba. Pero sa score na skills, doon kami nagkulang this time."

Still, Reyes can take the loss in stride. The defeat did not end their season, and it didn't even knock them out of the Final 4. "Andoon pa rin kami (sa Top 4)," he pointed out.

"That's life," he also said. "Mas gusto ni La Salle na manalo ngayon. Well-deserved naman nila 'yung win."

As difficult as the defeat was, the Tigresses have no other choice but to move on. Reyes made it clear that the "drama" should be over by Monday, when they return to work and prepare for their next game.

"Sabi ko, okay lang 'yan ngayong araw, pero bukas (Monday) is another day na ulit, preparation na, move forward na tayo. Kasi, we are on the right track," Reyes stressed.

"Nakaka-entertain pa rin ang laro namin pero we're bleeding inside kasi kami ang nasa losing side. Ang masakit pa nito, ang dami naming error," he also said.

"Pero again, pwede naman naming i-correct ulit at bumawi sa mga susunod na laro. Sabi nga, it's just a bad game, not a bad life. So bawi na lang ulit kami."

The Tigresses will try to bounce back on Saturday against University of the East.

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