SAN Sebastian coach Roger Gorayeb was left puzzled after the Lady Stags’ stunning loss, 18-25, 20-25, 16-25, to Arellano University in Game One of the Finals series of the NCAA Season 92 women’s volleyball tournament on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
The veteran mentor spent more than 11 minutes in the post-game interview but still could not pinpoint what went wrong with his wards.
“Marami akong tinatanong sa kanila, meron kaming [dapat] gagawin na ‘di nila magawa sa game, pati sa service may instruction ako ‘di nila magawa,” he said.
The SSC belles, who swept the nine-game elimination round to earn a thrice-to-beat advantage, looked disoriented in the match that took an hour and 20 minutes, firing serves that either went out or did not even cross the net.
Even Gorayeb’s reliable spiker Grethcel Soltones, his defense specialist Alyssa Eroa and setter Vira Guillema were struggling to find their rhythm.
The Recto-based squad had a sloppy defense at the net with zero blocks in the entire match, while giving away 30 points to AU courtesy of its errors.
“Pumunta sila dito para ‘di maglaro ng championship,” rued the 23-time NCAA champion coach.
“‘Di gumana ang reception, kung may reception naman kapos, lampas na ‘yung set sa antenna. May instruction ako na ‘di nasusunod kung san dadalhin ang bola sa service na ‘di nasusunod. All skill sa volleyball wala, pano ka mananalo? Swerte pa kami naka-score pa kaming ganoon.”
Gorayeb shared that during the post-game huddle he was searching for answers straight from his team.
The former national team coach’s voice can be heard from the press room, which is right across the SSC dugout, but all he heard was a deafening silence.
“Wala, tahimik silang lahat, sa ganyang situation talagang tatahimik ‘yan, ‘di makakapagsalita, bumabalik sa kanila ginawa nila eh,” he said.
While he’s clearly frustrated, Gorayeb was left with no choice but to move on and hope his wards have learned their lesson ahead of Game Two on Friday, with the series virtually reduced to a best-of-three series.
“Masakit man, we’ll take it with a grain of salt,” he said. “Nag-level ang playing field.”