THE defense on Aiza Maizo and the absence of Judy Ann Caballejo proved to be major factors in the Game One defeat of University of Santo Tomas against two-time defending champion Ateneo in their Shakey’s V-League Season 10 First Conference semifinals series.
Coach Odjie Mamon said Maizo became a non-factor in the final three sets after the Tigresses won the opener before folding up in a 20-25, 25-19, 29-27, 25-14 loss to the Lady Eagles.
“It’s either lost siya or na-neutralize siya,” said Mamon of Maizo, who finished with 12 points. “Maganda ‘yung naging adjustment nila (Ateneo) during the second set.”
The Tigresses also played shorthanded with Caballejo missing the match to attend to her masteral studies.
“May masteral kasi siya,” Mamon said.
The Tigresses had a good fighting chance to tie the match in the third, but the Lady Eagles were able to steal the set away.
That third-set loss proved to be a dampener as Ateneo won the deciding fourth in lopsided fashion.
“We got robbed in the third set somewhere 25-24, naging 25-all, tapos na dapat nun. Tapos noong fourth set, talagang wala na, I don’t’ know, umayaw na,” said Mamon.
Mamon said UST will have to make the necessary adjustments, but admitted the Tigresses are the underdog come Game Two on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena owing to the retooled Ateneo lineup that now includes newly-acquired spiker Jeng Bualee.
“Iba ‘yung lineup nila ngayon. Malaking bagay si Bualee. Tignan mo naman, kinain niya ng husto si Jessey,” said Mamon, referring to the Tigresses’ open spiker Jessey De Leon, who struggled with only seven points.