UAAP Preview: Embracing Warrior mentality is first step in UE rise from obscurity
The UE Lady Warriors are eager to climb out of the cellar for a change. Jham Mariano

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's the third of our eight-part preview on the coming UAAP women's volleyball season]

FOR several years, the University of the East has been mired in the lower half of the standings of the UAAP women's volleyball tournament.

For that to change in Season 80, which kicks off on Saturday, the intact Lady Warriors core led by team captain and setter Roselle Baliton, Shaya Adorador, and Kath Arado should have a never-back-down mentality.

Head coach Francis Vicente said the first thing they addressed in the offseason was the team's mindset, believing it can be a powerful tool when the Lady Warriors take on top-tier teams in the competition.

“Pagdating sa preparation, we had several things to do, in particular with the mindset of each individual para totally ma-put behind na nila yung nakaraan nila," he said.

"Although there's little improvement in terms of performance, makikita na natin na lumalaban na sila e, unti-unti," he added. "Yung third year ko yun e. In my fourth year nag-hire kami ng sports psychologist to help the team in terms of mind setting. Yun yung naging preparation nila." 

Vicente said his wards have to believe they can actually beat their opponents. Before they know it, their goal of making the Final Four will be within reach.

"Ang kailangan namin yung ma-overcome namin yung nandun kami sa ibaba. Iangat namin ng mga at least dalawang ranks," he said.

"Basta kailangan going up lagi. Yun yung target namin. Yung pag go up mo, dadating yun dun sa gusto ng tao, yung Final Four, kesa naman yung ine-aim lang namin yun mindset lang. Kailangan may target din kaming rank, paunti unti every year." 

All this will be possible if the Lady Warriors play at a high level and employ a winner's attitude each game, added the veteran mentor. 

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"They just need to perform at the highest level. Ano ba yung highest level na yun? Yun yung pinilit nilang baguhin yung pananaw nila sa kalaban nila, yung pag nakita nila yung kalaban nila feeling nila talo na sila kaagad," he said.

"Pag na-overcome nila yun at inisip nilang 'Hindi, kaya namin to. Gagawin namin lahat, three sets, five sets basta pipilitin namin manalo dito,' yun yung dapat magiging advantage ng isang team, yung mindset." 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros