UNIVERSITY of the Philippines setter Arielle Estranero believed they were simply schooled by La Salle in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
UP imposed its presence early in the season with four consecutive wins, including an emphatic victory over the defending champion in the first round.
The Lady Maroons were riding high after a 25-22, 25-21, 25-19 win over the Lady Spikers but it was a different story in their second round rematch when the Taft-based squad exacted revenge, 27-25, 25-11, 25-17.
“Siguro La Salle did better than we did today,” admitted the UP team captain.
[See La Salle Lady Spikers get back at UP Lady Maroons to inch closer to Final Four]
Although it was a close contest in attacks (38-33), the Lady Maroons could not penetrate though the strong defense at the net (2-9 blocks) and the Lady Spikers capitalized on their weak reception (11-1 service aces).
In their first meeting, UP stunned La Salle with quick and smart plays, strong attacks and their ‘UP Ikot’ as they run around the court to celebrate each point won to distract their opponent.
But the same old formula became useless as La Salle coach and master tactician Ramil de Jesus found a way to counter UP’s strategy.
“Siyempre nakapag-adjust din sila to the way we played and siguro nahirapan kami sa pag-adjust (to counter La Salle),” said Estranero.
“Let's say hindi kami nakapag-adjust agad sa kung ano man ang nilaro nila,” she added.
From a 4-0 start, UP lost five of the next six games to drop to 5-5 tied with Far Eastern University at the fifth spot.
Still, the third year libero-turned-setter believes that the team's performance has been improving.
“Compared to the other games, we can say naman na we're performing better than the last few games. Mga last few games of the first round,” she said.
UP has four more games remaining in the second round against Adamson, National University, University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University.