UAAP: UP coach hails 'excellent' Dorog

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 11 2019 04:34 PM

UAAP: UP coach hails 'excellent' Dorog 1
Justine Dorog (13). Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines (UP) made a crucial adjustment in their game against University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Wednesday, as they fielded in Justine Dorog as their libero for the first time in UAAP Season 81.

Dorog had been steady as a wing spiker for UP throughout the tournament, averaging just over 9 points in their first 11 games of the season. But with the Lady Maroons' Final 4 hopes on the line, UP coach Godfrey Okumu gambled on putting in Dorog as libero – a position that she has played before.

The veteran was steady, tallying 10 digs and 13 successful receptions in their match against UST. Unfortunately, the Lady Maroons could not get the job done against the Tigresses, falling 21-25, 12-25, 24-26 to see their semifinals hopes take another blow.

Okumu, however, was pleased with Dorog's performance despite the loss.

"It was unfortunate that we were not able to pass the way we wanted 100%, but I think at some point she played a bigger role in passing and getting some of the balls," said the coach.

"Her defense to me was excellent. At least she defended so well, it makes me a proud coach. Dorog really defended well," he added.

The Lady Maroons made UST star Sisi Rondina work for her points. While Rondina still scored 17 of her 20 points on kills, she had to spike 55 times in just three sets. UP repeatedly dragged the Tigresses into long rallies but unfortunately, they were rarely able to finish them.

Still, Okumu believes that his gamble of putting Dorog as libero worked, and so she will likely play in that position for UP for their upcoming games.

"She will be a libero for the next few games," said Okumu, noting that Marian Buitre – who took Dorog's place as a wing spiker in the starting 6 – also gave a good account of herself as far as defense went.

"We believe that's how we're gonna go," he added. "I think and I believe she will be there for us, to defend for us the court next time."

UP will need Dorog to have another fine performance on Sunday, when they take on National University in a must-win game. Their loss to UST dropped the Lady Maroons' record to 6-6, and another defeat will put them out of the running for a spot in the Final 4.

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