By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
UNLIKE in recent seasons of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), the current women’s volleyball year is proving to be a tough one for the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Fighting Maroons as they deal with various changes and find their footing anew.
Halfway into UAAP Season 80, the Diliman-based spikers are currently struggling and are perched at the low half of the standings with a 2-5 record, good for sixth place.
Where they are currently at pales in comparison to their showing in the previous seasons when they were prominent in the playoff picture at this stage of the competition.
UP made a coaching change in the offseason, bringing in Kenyan coach Godfrey Okumu to replace Jerry Yee, even as the team lost steady veterans Nicole Tiamzon, Princess Gaisler and Kathy Bersola.
The changes have forced the Lady Maroons to “recalibrate” their thrust to adapt to the system and personnel that they have, which is proving to be not as fluid as hoped so far.
“We are finding our footing. We are struggling but we’re getting there. We are still growing as a team,” said Mr. Okumu as he put things in perspective in relation to the struggles they are having in the ongoing season.
“It is a building process but hopefully in our next games we get to improve and show better results,” he added.
Leading the charge for the Lady Maroons this season is the one-two punch of hitters Tots Carlos and Isa Molde, who admitted they are embracing the roles given them to help the team.
Carlos has been averaging 19.3 points while Molde has been good for 13.1 points.
After the two though, not much scoring has been coming out of the Lady Maroons, made worse by their struggles in service.
But despite their not-so-good record in the standings, Mr. Okumu is still upbeat that in time they will turn things around and start winning again.
He further said that he hopes fans of UP will remain patient with the team and looking to their support more so now.
“The fans have always been there for us even when we are struggling. I would like to thank them and may they continue to support us because we really need them,” the UP coach said.
The Lady Maroons next play tomorrow against the Adamson Lady Falcons (3-4) at 2 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Immediately following the match at 4 p.m. is the encounter between league-leading National University Lady Bulldogs (6-1) and the defending champions De La Salle Lady Spikers (5-2).