The Tigresses have so far dropped their first two games of the season - a five-setter loss to Adamson followed by a brave stand against defending champion Ateneo that fell short just last Sunday.
But the 35-year old rookie coach is not pushing the panic button yet as he even injected some banter in his post-game interview outside the UST dugout at The Arena in San Juan following the Ateneo game.
“Hindi naman (ako frustrated) mas nakaka-challenge. Hindi ko na alam kasi ang salitang frustrated, araw-araw ko nang nararamdaman ‘yun. Hindi, joke lang,” he said.
“Mas nagiging pursigido kami,” he added, turning serious. “Sabi ko nga eh, alam ko naman kung sino ako, alam ko naman ang kaya ko.”
The pride of Lucena, who won a championship as a UST player in 1999, 2001, and 2003 and was part of the team which finished runner-up in 2000 and 2002, was straightforward in saying he won’t let frustration sink in.
“Hindi ako magpapadala sa ganoon lang,” he said. “Nagsisimula pa lang naman ang liga eh. Kung mag 0-7 kami (sa first round) bawi kami sa second round. Siguro naman sa second round makakakuha kami kahit isang panalo at least 1-13 kami kung sakali.”
The back-to-back losses, however, are proof the team is still lacking in character, according to Reyes who longs to see his winning attitude rub off on his players.
“This time ang character ng team ang (focus namin), pinagtutuunan namin ng pansin is kung paano kami makakabalik kapag down kami, paano namin ipapanalo ang mga dikdikan na laban,” he said.
“Kasi ang skills namin ine-enhance na lang namin,” he added. “Pinapaulit-ulit lang namin sinasabi sa kanila na ang character kailangan talaga, ‘yung will to win at saka fighting spirit namin makuha namin. The rest medyo mahaba-haba pa naman ang liga.”
But Reyes, who’s also a Philippine Army sergeant, prefers to suffer early in the tournament than be on top and lose in the end.
“Mas masama naman ‘yung bandera ka tapos banderang kapos pala, so mas maganda na ito sa una pa lang nararamdaman na agad namin ‘yung sakit para pilitin namin umangat,” he said.
UST has a week to prepare for a bounce back when it takes on Far Eastern University next.