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As coaches walk out, Lady Bulldogs left to simmer on another disappointing loss

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When a team overcomes a hurdle such as defeating the De La Salle University Lady Spikers, their confidence and cohesion should be at an all-time high.

But that hasn’t been the case for the National University Lady Bulldogs. Coming off their win over DLSU, NU lost two of their next three matches to fellow Final Four contenders.

A team that was expected to finally make a breakthrough into the UAAP Finals now looks more scattered than ever.

In their loss last Sunday to the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, it seems that even their head coach, Roger Gorayeb, blew his last gasket.

Gorayeb, who was very animated when his team lost to the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses, walked out of the FilOil Flying V Centre along with his staff and team managers without addressing the team or media post-match.

NU spent nearly an hour in their dugout, trying to hash out the team’s problems on their own.

“Lahat kami nagusap-usap lang about sa nangyari sa game. Basta team lang kami, walang iwanan, walang bibitaw. First round pa lang naman. Mahirap sana kung tapos na o Finals na,” team captain Myla Pablo told the media.

“Sabi ko nga kailangan namin manalo para sa sarili namin, kahit hindi na para kila coach. Ipakita natin na kaya nating lumaban. Sabi ko sa teammates ko, mag-usap lang tayo sa loob ng court, kahit huwag na tayo makinig sa sasabihin nila coach. Basta, focus lang tayo, tiwala tayo sa sarili natin,” she said when asked what she told the team.

“Pinagusapan namin ‘yung mga pagkakamali namin – ‘yung mga kailangan pa naming punan as a team. Kasi lumalabas talaga ‘yung mga pagkukulang namin sa loob ng court, sobrang grabe na,” revealed middle hitter Jaja Santiago. “Maraming times na hindi kami naglalaro as a team – as individuals lang.”

With a 3-3 record, the Lady Bulldogs are in danger of falling out of the Final Four race if they don’t take care of the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons in their tilt tomorrow at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Both Pablo and Santiago see their team’s lack of effort in passing as major problem. They also added that they need to better their communication on the court when their opponents get the upper hand.

“Nalungkot ako lalo. Sobrang napepressure kami ngayon, sobrang napepressure ako. Siguro kasi ganito nga ‘yung nilalaro namin,” Santiago admitted feeling when she saw her coaches walk out.

Getting swept by FEU in the first round last season was a turning point for NU. It was around this time that they replaced Dong Dela Cruz with Gorayeb. They went from a team with no direction to a sure Final Four bet.

How will the Lady Bulldogs respond this time?

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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