A few days before NU’s crucial game against UST, the Lady Bulldogs found themselves with a new coach. Former coach of the Ateneo Lady Spikers, Roger Gorayeb was put in charge of the NU women’s volleyball team in the hopes of making a playoff push.
After their victory, the new NU coach had quite a lot to say about his new team, but first and foremost, he was thankful for the win.
“Salamat na nanalo kami, kaya lang sabi ko nga ako pa ata yung malas eh. Dumating ako, natalo pa. Buti nalang nanalo pa rin yung mga bata.”
NU was able to survive the first two sets without their new coach, who was late to the game. They dropped the 3rd and 4th set, but were able to hang on during the 5th set to take the win.
Coach Roger believes that the team has the talent to win, but the problem is they do not have enough confidence in their game.
“This is my first time to see them playing and this is my third day with them. Ang sinabi ko sa kanila kahapon, you have the skills, but you do not know that you have that skill. Tignan mo mga movement nila, tentative at nagtitinginan. Pag naglalaro sila napakatahimik nila.”
The team has yet to make the most out of their tallest player, Jaja Santiago. Jaja also happens to be the team’s most consistent player, averaging 15 points per game prior to the match against UST.
“Hindi pa nila namamaximize si Jaja eh. Sabi ko ‘Jaja you are supposed to be five points per set. Yan yung kakayahan mo, five points minimum. Kasi ang laki mo, you are the tallest player…’ Hindi pa nga lang nila ma-maximize. Lagi ko sinasabi sa kanila, you have to maximize Jaja. Otherwise parang siyang 6’4 na naglalaro lang na parang 5’7. 6’4 ka Jaja, i-assert mo height mo. She has to play as a 6’4, not a 5’7, 5’6, or 5’8. Not as a regular player, kasi ang laki niya. Bata pa siya pero ang height niya pang diinan.”
This was also his first time to see how the team played, spending most of the 3rd and 4th sets just observing his team.
“Ngayon ko lang sila nakita maglaro, so ngayon ko lang nakikita yung errors nila. Babaguhin ko nalang pero it is very difficult on my part… Sana makuha nila pati yung sistema ko. Meron kasi ako pina-adjust kanina kung magagawa nila kanina. Kasi hinayaan ko lang muna sila. Pero meron akong sistema na inexplain kahapon, pero di ko ma-iimpose kasi magugulo. We have to get two wins pa, and they are facing top opponents pa, eh nandiyan pa yung Adamson. Nakuha nila nung 5th set, kelangan ko iimpose sarili ko.”
“Inoobserve ko pa sila para makita ko lang, then I’ll make adjustments kasi may isa pang round naman eh.”
One thing he has had difficulty with is his unfamiliarity with the players, claiming to have little knowledge on their play styles, and even forgetting their names.
“This is just my 3rd day, ni hindi ko nga kumpletong pangalan nila, di ko alam kung paano maglaro si ganito, o si ganito. Kaya tinatanong ko, ‘ano pangalan nito? Ipasok na si ganito, yung isa, yung isa!”
One of the bigger weaknesses he found during the game was the team’s setters committing multiple mistakes.
“Yung setter isa yun sa nakita kong weakness nila. Natalo kami nung 4th set mula nung i-over ng setter yung bola, and there’s always a chance to set the ball. ‘Bakit mo inover?’ sabi ko sa kaniya. Kaya ko siya inilabas, pinasok ko yung isa, si Perez. Eh inoover din yung bola! Worse, yung huling service, outside. Sabi ko sa kaniya ‘Hindi ka 1st year, di ka 2nd year, di ka 3rd year…’ 4th year yata yun ngayon, sabi ko sa kaniya ‘Experience mo yan magseservice ka 24-22 tapos outside.’ Nerbyos yan, walang confidence eh. The more you think of the error, the more you commit the error. Hindi pwede sa volleyball yan. There should never be an excuse.”
Another thing he would like to change within the team’s culture is saying sorry.
“Walang sorry-sorry sa akin. Ang sorry kasi para sa akin is ina-acknowledge mo ang pagkakamali mo. Wala kang mali, sabi ko sa kanila, lalo na sa mga bata. Wala kang mali, tama yung ginagawa mo, nagkataon lang na hindi mo nagawa ng tama. Pero hindi yun mali, kaya wag ka mag sorry. Kasi pag nag sorry ka ng isa, nag sorry ka ng dalawa, nag sorry ka ng pangatlo, pang apat di ka na kikilos, nag-iingat ka na sa bola, kasi nahihiya ka.”
Unlike when he started his coaching stint with Ateneo, Coach Roger believes that he has the talent to compete right away.
‘How I started with Ateneo [was] very different. When I started with Ateneo wala talaga akong player. Wala namang Alyssa Valdez, walang Denden Lazaro, everything wala, and I started to build it.”
Coach Roger is known for being extremely strict during practice, but Valdez and Lazaro are two players who have benefited from his coaching style.
“Yung impression kasi sa akin mahigpit and everything. Pero wala pa akong pinatay na player. Wala pang namamatay na player sa ensayo sa akin. Si Denden almost, si Alyssa almost.”
Valdez and Lazaro were also two of the pivotal pieces to Ateneo’s championship run last year. It will be interesting to see how the Lady Bulldogs perform once they have had enough time to meld with their new coach.