After capturing the PVL Collegiate Conference title last year, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons opted not to participate in this year’s edition of the same tourney.
“I need time with my team,” UP head coach Godfrey Okumu disclosed.
Unlike previous tournaments, where the Kenyan mentor had a veteran-laden squad at his disposal, Okumu has to make do with a crop of rookies and sophomores this time around.
“You know last year, we were really overexposed as a team but not in a bad way. We had a strong team,” said Okumu, who also steered the Lady Maroons to the top of the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam last year.
“This year I have my rookies. We have rookies and the second years.”
For a unit that has only started training three weeks ago, building cohesion and chemistry is at the top of Okumu’s priority list. He also made it known that he needs “at least three months” to break the newcomers into his system.
“The smart guys in sports would say it’s hard to train a system while in the game. You train the system while in training. That’s why we need time to train,” he said.
“If PVL was in September or October then we would join. But now it’s too early.”
He then explained, “It’s not that we are refusing, but the situation that we find ourselves in would make it difficult to perform to the standard that we want.”
Still, Okumu and his Lady Maroons are not closing their doors for a possible appearance in the tournaments that lie ahead.
“We might join Uni Games. There are talks about PSL, but I’m still not to the idea [sic]. But probably, we might join the PSL.”