Jaja Santiago, Myla Pablo left searching for answers in middle of Lady Bulldogs slump
Jaja Santiago and Myla Pablo were major letdowns in the NU loss to UP. Dante Peralta

NATIONAL University standouts Jaja Santiago and Myla Pablo admitted that just like their coach, they are clueless on what ails the Lady Bulldogs in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.

The Lady Bulldogs finished the first round of eliminations on a three-game losing skid after a 3-1 start, losing a five-setter to University of Santo Tomas and straight-set defeats to Far Eastern University and University of the Philippines.

The sudden dip in form had coach Roger Gorayeb venting his frustrations to the media, saying the Lady Bulldogs are playing ‘uninspired.’

[See Gorayeb clueless on what ails 'uninspired, imploding Lady Bulldogs]

Both Santiago and Pablo became obvious targets for Gorayeb, who benched his two stars during the second set of the team’s 19-25, 20-25, 21-25, loss to UP.

Santiago and Pablo ended up with their lowest output of the tournament of four and three points, respectively, and had no answers when asked on what is wrong with the slumping pre-tournament favorites.

“Hindi ko alam bakit ‘di ako makakilos ng maayos. Wala naman (ako issue sa setter) pero ‘di ko alam eh, parang every move namin may pumipigil sa amin. ‘Yun ‘yung hinahanap namin, kung anong problema talaga sa amin,” said Santiago, the team’s 6-foot-5 middle blocker.

“Hirap na hirap ang team na hanapin ang mali,” she added.

Pablo added: “Actually kami rin eh, kami rin hindi namin alam anong problema namin pero noong nasa labas ako, sa bench, iniisip ko isa-isa na parang wala namang problema eh.”

Santiago and Pablo however, believe there are two factors for the Lady Bulldogs’ losing streak. One, there’s something pulling the team back not to perform at its best and two, they just can’t find the rhythm to play as team.

“Gusto lang naman sa amin ni coach maglaro kami ng maayos, gumalaw kami ng maayos, ma-execute namin ang mga tinuturo niya pero ‘yun nga iniisip namin hindi kami makagalaw talaga sa loob ng court. Parang may pumipigil,” said Santiago.

“Parang hindi kami magkatugma-tugma sa laro,” added Pablo.

NU gets a chance to stop the losing streak starting the second round on Sunday against Adamson.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada