FAR Eastern University coach Shaq delos Santos remained optimistic despite losing their season opener to La Salle in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament on Wednesday.
The Lady Tamaraws were outplayed by the Lady Spikers, 29-27, 25-23, 25-20, led by returning top hitter Ara Galang, who just recovered from ACL, MCL, meniscus tear and big bone bruises on her left knee she suffered during their stepladder semifinals against National U last season.
But the FEU veteran mentor was proud to see his team hung tough against a contender like La Salle and immediately encouraged the Lady Tams after the straight-set loss.
"Sa amin naman good experience 'yan kasi of course La Salle 'yan. Pero hindi naman namin tinitingnan ang first game. Ang sa amin dito 'yung nagkaroon kami ng magandang performance and mas marami pa kaming paghahandaan kasi hindi lang naman ang La Salle ang contender dyan. Of course lahat ng kasali [contender]," said delos Santos.
"Sa amin mas magpa-practice pa kami ng mabuti. 'Yung play namin okay naman, pag nakaka-receive naman kami, okay naman. And for me 'yung talo namin hindi nakakahiya, happy kami sa naging performance nila. Nag-uumpisa pa lang naman [at] marami pang chance para makabawi," he added.
The Lady Tamaraws also showed no signs of dejection after the game as laughter and playful banter filled their locker room at the Philsports Arena.
"Sa amin, nagpunta kami dito para maglaro and enjoyin namin ang game namin. Kasi kung maglalaro kami tapos feeling namin stressed kami, ano na lang ang mangyayari sa amin?" explained delos Santos. "So sabi ko sa mga bata, 'wag kayo mag-stop na matuto kasi ang team natin, ngayon natin mate-test kung ready na ba, o kung kailangan pa mag gain ng experience."
FEU will look to bounce back against the University of the East on Sunday. And while both the Lady Tams and Lady Warriors both lost their opening games, delos Santos said they won't take UE for granted.
"Aaralin pa rin namin ang UE. Syempre mas kailangan makabawi kami at magkaroon kami ng panalo. Naniniwala naman kami sa team namin," he said.