MICHELLE Morente sat down inside the press room for the post-game interview when Bea de Leon popped in, putting the blame on the Ateneo skipper and her freshly washed knee pads for the Shakey's V-League loss to the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons.
“Ang totoo nilabhan kasi ni Mich knee pads niya,” de Leon shouted from a distance.
That prompted an explanation from Morente, who admitted she swore never to wash her knee pads during a run of three wins by the Lady Eagles that put them back in contention in the Season 13 Collegiate Conference.
“Ok kasi may ano kami, ang baho kasi ng knee pads ko this past few games, ang sabi ko hindi ko lalabhan ‘yung knee pads ko pag nanalo tayo,” said Morente after the Ateneo streak was halted by an 18-25, 25-14, 25-20, 25-18 loss to the Lady Maroons.
“Eh nilabhan ko siya kagabi kaya sabi nila natalo kami dahil sa knee pads ko. I don’t know kung ano ang connection, nasisi pa ako,” she added laughing.
Turning serious, Morente was the first to say that UP was simply tough to beat on this day.
“As you can see naman, UP is a really strong team, sobrang saludo ako sa kanila,” she said. “Ang lakas nilang pumalo, ang galing ng depensa nila, lahat ng palo namin nakukuha nila, receive nila as in lahat sobrang solid talaga.
"Siguro sobrang naangatan lang nila kami so ‘yun, hindi kami nakasabay sa kanila.”
Ateneo beat UP in almost every scoring and non-scoring department: spikes (45-41), service (9-6), digs (64-56), sets (55-32), reception (44-22).
However, the Lady Eagles wereweaker at the net (4-8 blocks) and also gave away 34 points to the Lady Maroons due to errors, while UP only had 23 miscues in the entire game that took an hour and 39 minutes to finish.
“Siguro dapat we trust each other, na kailangan mag-usap usap din kami sa loob ng court kasi nakita niyo naman may miscommunication kami,” said Morente.
“At saka nakita ko rin na medyo tumahimik, nawalan ng ingay parang ang tamlay na. Siguro dapat we play happy ulit, confidence namin medyo bumaba din,” she added.
Ateneo now faces a must-win situation when it faces University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University for a chance to advance to the semifinals.
The Lady Eagles will square off with UST on Monday and FEU on Wednesday.