They hadn’t expected to win, but they at least wanted to put up a fight.
The National University Lady Bulldogs again looked lost in their straight-sets demise to the Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles.
Their head coach Roger Gorayeb insists that his wards play better in practice. The National Team mentor says that more than 30% of their practice time is focused on service reception, so he can’t fathom why the Lady Bulldogs are still struggling in that area.
“I challenge anyone to come to our practices. Hindi ganyan ang nilalaro nila, masisipag yan. Hindi ko alam kung bakit pagdating sa game mismo, nawawala,” he told the media, who were camped outside their private locker room at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“Nagiging useless almost ‘yung pagkakaroon namin ng 6’5 na player (Jaja Santiago). Hindi talaga siya makakapalo kapag hindi maganda ‘yung pasa namin. Last year, ayan na ang problema nila noong pumasok ako. Na-address na namin noong pagpasok ko. Hindi ko alam kung bakit bumalik nanaman.”
Gorayeb wasn’t upset that his team had lost. It’s in the way his team seemingly gave up mid-match. NU had lost three of their last four matches prior to Wednesday. Gorayeb wants to see his players execute and buck their struggles in those matches.
“It would have been okay if we lost because Ateneo was much stronger than us. Kaso hindi eh. We lost mostly because of our errors. We had a gameplan na hindi talaga na-execute. We haven’t been playing well. This isn’t the type of game you want to build on moving forward. We needed to play better.”
But after a win against the De La Salle University Lady Spikers, NU spiraled out of control.
The sudden drop in his team’s motivation has left Gorayeb dumbfounded.
“As a player, kung ako ‘yun wala na akong hahanaping motivation para manalo kung hindi ‘yung pride ko. Why would I look for other things to motivate me? Passion ko ‘to.”
The problem for the Lady Bulldogs is definitely mental. But stabilizing the volatile concoction of teen hormones and angst in collegiate team sports often leads to more combustions. Gorayeb is aware that the players need to address their issues internally.
“Ang problema din gusto ng mga player na mai-spoon feed sa kanila pati ‘yung pag-iisip nila sa loob ng court. We teach them the skills – how to spike, dig, block, receive – but they have to fix their mentality. Hindi na dapat pati ‘yun iaasa sa aming coaches. There’s only so much we can tell them.”
For his part, Gorayeb has never experienced coaching a team that is this mentally unstable. For the second time, he admitted that he has thought of resigning, but his passion keeps him in Sampaloc.
“In my 30 years of coaching, I’ve never coached a team like this. Ako talaga lalaban ba, ewan ko na lang sa mga player ko.”