MANILA, Philippines – National University (NU) is mathematically still in the hunt for a Final 4 berth in UAAP Season 81, after the Lady Bulldogs took down Adamson University on Sunday for their third win of the tournament.
That put NU at 3-7, good for sixth place in the league standings. The win over Adamson was important in more ways than one, as it avenged a first-round loss for the Lady Bulldogs while also snapping a 3-game losing streak.
"Ang tagal din namin since nagkaroon kami ng another win, tapos dito pa sa Adamson na ito, iyon 'yung tumalo sa amin noong first round," noted NU head coach Norman Miguel.
Miguel made some changes to his team for their game against Adamson, most notably putting rookie Ivy Lacsina in the middle blocker position after having played her as a wing spiker for most of the year.
While the gamble paid off with a four-set victory, Miguel stressed that their primary concern at this point is the growth and improvement of their players. Any win that they gain in the process is just a bonus for the rebuilding Lady Bulldogs.
"Kami naman, from the start, ang lagi namin pinag-uusapan when coming into the game is, basta ibigay mo 'yung best mo, you perform well," said Miguel, who is in his first season as head coach.
"Kung manalo, yes, dagdag iyon sa win namin. Kung hindi, lesson to be learned," he added. "Basta sa amin lang, nag-start kami with all the struggles na nangyari. Laruin lang 'yung game, (give) your best performance. You got nothing to lose."
As for their slim Final 4 chances, Miguel said he is "hoping for the best." The coach knows their fate is not in their hands: NU has a tough wind-up to the season, with their last four matches all coming against teams that are vying for a spot in the semifinals.
That starts with a date against league-leading Ateneo de Manila University on Sunday.
"Kung nanalo okay, kung mathematically may chance, hoping for the best pa rin," said Miguel.
"Sana sa remaining games lang walang mangyari na mga injury or sakit or what. Sana wala, sana maski sa ibang teams," added the coach, who lost rookie setter Joyme Cagande to a knee injury in their very first game of the season.
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