The season may be over for four UAAP squads who are out of Final Four contention but each one has much to look forward to in UAAP Season 82.
As they say, one does not lose, one only learns. And with the defeats, heartbreaks, and setbacks that the Adamson Lady Falcons, UE Lady Red Warriors, NU Lady Bulldogs, and the UP Lady Fighting Maroons experienced this year, they only gained learnings on how to be better, while some also showed flashes of brilliance that tell us the best is yet to come for their team.
Here are some of the reasons why these four schools can still hold their heads up high despite missing the cut.
- UE records most wins in recent years
Okay, three may not be a healthy number in terms of winning. But to the UE lady Red Warriors, this already means a lot to a program that hasn’t been to the Final Four since 2007. The revitalization of the program can be attributed to their new head coach, Karl Dimacungalan, a former UAAP standout who happens to be the brother of erstwhile UST ace setter Rhea. He steadily raised his wards’ game, which is most evident in the more consistent play of spiker Judith Abil and emergence of young players like Me-an Mendrez, Zilfa Olarve, and Lai Bendiong, who is making a case for Best Setter in the tournament.
2.) Overachieving rookie Bulldogs
Coming into the season, the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs weren’t even talking themselves to the Final Four. They’re still kids, enjoying their first taste of major college competition. But these young ladies of new coach Norman Miguel had grown lady moxie with them. They didn’t lie down and roll in their games and straight up fought tooth and nail thanks to their impressive rookie class bannered by Princess Robles, Jennifer Nierva, Gel Luceno, and Ivy Lacsina. As proof, they outlasted a loaded UP Lady Fighting Maroons squad in five sets to boot the Diliman team out of Final Four contention, and that’s not all as they defeated them twice as well in the regular season.
- Coaching solution for Adamson
Hopes were high in San Marcelino despite the departure of star Jema Galanza with the program of coach Air Padda slowly gaining ground. However a flat start to the season warranted a coaching change to Rogelio "Onyok" Getigan. In their first outing under Getigan, the Lady Falcons swept the young National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs, 25-15, 25-19, 25-22 in their first game with new coach.The best is yet to come for the Lady Falcons even if they are going to lose Eli Soyud and Joy Dacoron to graduation for Season 82. They will still retain the services of Chiara Permentilla, Bernadeth Flora, libero Thang Ponce, and rookie Krich Macaslang to form a good core going forward.
- Nowhere to go but UP
With two offseason championships, the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Fighting Maroons were a favorite to win it all. However, the pressure to achieve seemed to get the better of Coach Godfrey Okumu’s squad which also suffered a blow when star hitter Isa Molde was injured. UP should not wallow in despair as their deadly trio of Molde, Tots Carlos, and Justine Dorog still have a playing year left to erase the memories of their ill-fated Season 81 campaign. The young guns in Rosie Rozier and Jesma Ramos will also be given bigger roles as veterans Ayel Estrañero and Marian Buitre graduate. As these four teams go back to the drawing board, the fight goes on for league-leading Ateneo Lady Eagles, defending champion DLSU Lady Spikers, UST Golden Tigresses, and FEU Lady Tamaraws for the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball championship.
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