Down six points in the fifth and deciding set of Game 2 in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Women’s 2018 Collegiate Conference Finals against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons held on and went on an 8-0 run to secure their first major volleyball title after 36 long years.

Not long after, the Fighting Lady Maroons bagged another trophy in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) Collegiate Grand Slam 2018, this time at the expense of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses, adding to the team’s pre-season success.

It was a sign for greater things to come for UP, with their offseason victories fueling their desire to dominate the UAAP Season 81 Women’s’ Volleyball Tournament.

They started their campaign atop the Women’s Volleyball rankings at 3-1, even sweeping two-time defending champions the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers in the elimination round.

This leaves fans wondering why the Lady Maroons fell short in the Final Four race of this league.

UAAP second-year head coach Godfrey Okumu explained that unforeseen circumstances affected UP’s performance throughout the season.

“Sometimes, it’s not only the results from the players that play well, but there are many factors sometimes that affect the team,” said Okumu.

On the team’s mentality

The FIVB Level 3 Instructor aims to address these concerns before entering the offseason and in-season competitions, anticipating a new look from the Lady Maroons.  

The lead mentor also stressed that their mentality on and off the court contributed to his squad’s overall standing, saying “Sometimes, it’s not about the skill because the skill works with the goal. It’s only luck and patience that brings a lot of difference in the team.”

On the fans

Acknowledging the crowd playing seventh member of the team, Okumu showed gratitude to them for supporting UP no matter what.

“As usual, I’d say thanks a million for their support always. When the team is struggling or playing well, they have always been there,” he imparted.

On their last game of the season

Okumu commended the Lady Maroons’ grit as well and hopes that UP will fight until the end.

“We wanted to give them a good celebration by playing in the Final Four, but luck was not on our side today,” he said.

“The only thing I can say is we talked about it and we want to give them a good send-off by winning the last remaining game. Because this is for them,” reiterated Okumu.

The UP Fighting Lady Maroons hope to end their season on a high note as they go up against the Adamson University (AdU) Lady Falcons on April 27 at the Filoil Flying V Centre. TNP

Photo by Clarizzah Tualla

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