Last year’s finish: Third
Key losses: Rizza Mandapat
Key Additions: Jasmine Nabor, Rica Diolan, Aiko Urdas (returning player)
THIS early, already National University coach Roger Gorayeb is focused on the Final Four.
“Ngayon kasi short term ko pumasok kami sa Top 4 at gusto ko pagpasok sa top 4 makuha namin ang twice-to-beat advantage,” he said.
NU parades an intact core, with some players armed with international experience, but Gorayeb says he is not being complacent.
NU ace spiker Myla Pablo was part of the national team that competed in the Asian Under-23 Women’s Championship and Asian Women’s Championship that was held in China and a key player for Philip Gold in the Philippine Super Liga.
“Si Myla ang ganda ng laro ngayon pero sa UAAP? Pag wala sa laro si Myla, problema?” Gorayeb noted.
Jaja Santiago has also yet to meet Gorayeb’s high expectations.
“Si Jaja kasi is always dependent sa setter,” he said of the 6’ 5 ½” middle blocker.
“Kahit seven-footer pa siya kung hindi siya mabibigyan ng set na pang-seven-footer wala rin mangyayari.”
“Hindi naman lahat ng papaluin kay Jaja maba-block niya so kailangan mo pa rin ng depensa,” he added.
“Si Bia General ok na nagtugma na kaming dalawa. Pero syempre malaki ang expectation kasi isa kami sa intact na team,” he continued.
Pablo, Santiago, General along with rookies Jasmine Nabor and Rica Diolan captured the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Collegiate Conference title but Gorayeb is not satisfied.
“Sa V-League matapang ka kasi V-League ’yan eh pero sa UAAP at stake ’yung pride mo, ’yung honor mo, matalo ka na sa lahat ng liga ’wag lang sa UAAP,” he said.
Gorayeb, however, is banking on the return of spiker Aiko Urdas, who missed the last two seasons due to a knee injury.
NU takes on Ateneo in an early clash of favorites on Sunday.