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Coach Yee on Lady Maroons: “Evident naman. Makakalaro naman tayo. Eh ayaw lang maniwala ng mga bata”

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After playing catch-up the entire match, the Lady Maroons succumbed to a feisty AdU in a five-set thriller yesterday in front of a huge UP contingent.

Though taking a Final Four contender like Adamson into the deep waters would have been unfathomable for UP in past years, and with their best player in Kathy Bersola out for the season, coach Jerry Yee insists that the girls remaining on the team could have done more.

“Iyung mga crucial na simpleng bola, unfortunately, hindi natin nakuha. Learning stage pa rin pala kami. Kasi we have to get over the fact na injured na nga iyung isa (Kathy Bersola) pwede pa rin naman maglaro iyung iba. Evident naman. Makakalaro naman tayo. Eh ayaw maniwala ng mga bata [Lady Maroons],” Yee explained to reporters.

“Kita naman sa UE game palang. Malayo pa talaga si Mariane [Buitre]. Kasi nakikita ng tao anlakas pumalo, anlakas tumalon, pero hindi nila nakikita iyung IQ sa loob ng court, iyung ipapasok yung serve, yung simpleng pagiging veteran sa loob ng court, wala pa. Batang-bata pa sa paglalaro si Mariane. Although she’s trying very, very hard, ang ganda ng performance niya. Kung titignan niyo, tayo as the coach, kita natin iyung maliliit na flaws na nandiyan pa rin talaga,” said Coach Yee of his rookie, the replacement for Bersola.

But more than anything, Coach Yee wants his team to be more self-motivated and mentally tough on the court so they can focus more on volleyball strategy in games rather than having to pep each other up.

“Ganoon iyung team namin eh, sabi ko nga sa kanila [Lady Maroons] [during the game], ang hirap na nga noong naglalaro tayo, lumalaban tayo, gusto niyo pa dinadala-dala pa kayo, iyung sinasabihan pa kayo ng ‘kaya niyo yan’. Para tayong bata eh. Half of our effort napunta roon eh. ‘Kaya niyo yan’, ‘Idikit niyo pa’, nagmumuka kaming cheer leaders eh, imbis na strategy iyung pinaguusapan eh, we’re trying to cheer the girls on,” said Yee.

The Lady Maroons really cannot afford to lose motivation for the rest of their season if they want to salvage their Final Four run. But Coach Yee’s Lady Maroons have shown they have what it takes to creep into the Final Four, employing tailor-made lineups for specific opponents, such as the one they pulled against Adamson- placing Chester Ong in place of Ariane Ilustre to inject better height and blocking against AdU’s power spikers.

The Lady Maroons have the Tigresses from España- another team they earned a win against in the first round- next on their slate on Valentine’s day at the San Juan Arena. Their schedule doesn’t get any friendlier, as they will have to earn wins against teams that already beat them this season, FEU (MoA Arena, Feb. 18) and the Lady Bulldogs (San Juan Arena, Feb. 22).

With Coach Yee’s deep bag of tricks and UP’s offensive juggernaut, the Lady Maroons are far from dead with their 4-7 record. Also, this UP team is young, with only Angeli Araneta graduating this season, so it won’t be long until the Lady Maroons regain their lost volleyball glory.

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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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