FAR Eastern University coach Shaq delos Santos urged his team to keep their heads up despite losing to La Salle in the semifinals of the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Lady Tamaraws bowed to the Lady Spikers, 15-25, 25-27, 21-25, on Wednesday at the MOA Arena but the veteran mentor was the first to encourage his wards, saying they had nothing to be ashamed off with the fight they showed in their Final Four stint.
FEU forced a do-or-die match with a stunning come-from-behind win, 15-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 16-14, in their first meeting with La Salle, but they were simply outplayed in the deciding match that took an hour and 29 minutes to finish.
“Yes of course (nothing to be ashamed off) kasi proud kami sa mga players namin kasi pinakita naman namin ‘yung lahat ng kaya namin. So [siguro] hindi pa talaga para sa amin,” said delos Santos of his team that finished third at the end of the eliminations for the right to face second-seed La Salle, who had a twice-to-beat edge in the semis.
“Pero sabi nga namin sa mga bata, hindi pa natatapos dito ‘tong pagsasama natin. Mas magiging maganda pa, nagsisimula pa lang,” he added.
Delos Santos looks ahead to a better season next year with an almost intact lineup, save for setter Gyzelle Sy leaving the team as she have aleady maximized her eligibility.
Third year open spiker Bernadeth Pons, sophomores Toni Basas and Jerrili Malabanan and fourth year middle blocker Remy Palma, who will play her final year, will still be in the lineup for next season.
“Magtutuloy pa rin kami, hindi pa rin kami mag-gi-give up. Kailangan patunayan namin na may ilalakas pa ang team namin (next season),” he said.
After the game, some of the Lady Tams were naturally in tears but the veteran mentor was quick to console his players.
“Hindi mo kailangan umiyak ng ganyan. Binigay mo naman ang best mo eh,” delos Santos told a crying Pons. “Kung talagang hindi para sa atin ang game na ito, tanggapin natin. Kasi mas maganda tatanggapin natin kung anong merong dadating kasi mas masarap sa pakiramdam.”
“Sinasabi ko nga sa game kanina ibigay niyo na ang best niyo, i-enjoy niyo kahit ano pang score ‘yan para pag natapos ‘tong game na ‘to wala tayong panghihinayangan na sayang. Laging all out lang no matter what happened,” he added.
Meanwhile, up next for FEU is a stint in the Intercollegiate, an offseason volleyball tournament.