UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas coach Kungfu Reyes hopes to avoid another slow start when the Tigresses battle La Salle in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Tigresses lost in a squeaker to University of the Philippines, 19-25, 18-25, 25-16, 30-32, and the 35-year-old UST mentor can't help but notice another lackadaisical start for UST that led them to struggle late in the game just to recover lost ground.
“Pinipilit namin na ma-overcome ang pagiging diesel,” said Reyes, whose wards also came back from two sets down to defeat National University, 25-14, 25-18, 17-25, 19-25, 15-12.
“Sa NU nagawa namin pero kaya lang ‘yung apat na talo namin laging down by two (sets) lagi so pag naghahabol kami, nahihirapan kami,” he added.
While he remains confident in his team, Reyes warns that if they will not reverse this trend, the surging La Salle team, riding a three La Salle is on a three-game win streak capped by a straight-set demolition of archrival Ateneo on Saturday, will surely beat them.
“La Salle medyo mas mabigat na kalaban, sabi ko nga kung ganyan lang ang lalaruin namin ilalampaso kami ng La Salle sigurado,” said Reyes.
“So kailangan namin sumabay, kung pwedeng talunin bakit hindi? Kasi bilog naman ang bola. Kung sino magbigay ng 100 percent na performance ‘yun naman ang mananalo,” he added.
Reyes, however, said he could only do so much from the sidelines. Being a former student-athlete himself, the Lucena, Quezon native said that it’s up to the players to respond.
“Tempo na ng player ‘yan eh, wala na magagawa si coaches dyan,” he said. “Kasi pagdating sa court, pag-apak (sa court) ng player, player na ang magdidictate ng tempo nila, sila na mismo ang gagawa.”
“Kahit anong sigaw mo dyan sa labas, it’s not the coach it’s the player. Kahit anong bulyaw mo dyan kung ayaw, [hindi] gagalaw ‘yan. Ang pwede mo na lang gawin is palitan mo na lang,” he added.
Despite the team's inconsistent play, Reyes remains positive that UST can still recover and climb up from the seventh spot with a 2-4 record.
“Optimistic pa rin ‘yung team na makakabalik pa rin kami,” he said.