It is safe to say that things aren’t going according to plan for De La Salle University in the UAAP Season 85 Women’s Football Tournament.
The Lady Booters currently sit in fourth place with three points behind one win and two losses.
After suffering one-goal defeats at the hands of University of Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines, the defending champions finally nailed their first win of the campaign via a 3-0 drubbing of Ateneo de Manila University last Saturday.
“Masaya,” said Maye Mendaño who was one of La Salle’s goal scorers during that game. “Although first win namin siya but sobrang na-boost lalo kami to play and win.
“Mas lalo akong naging determinado to score more for the team. Kasi for us yung feeling na mag-score ang isa, lahat kami naka-score.”
In a tournament like the UAAP, every defeat is a blow to one team’s aspirations. As it stands, La Salle will miss out on the finals for the first time since Season 78.
However, there is still time to turn things around. The Lady Booters have one more assignment left in the first round and the whole of the second round to make ends meet.
There are times, though, when individual athletes and teams need to overcome huge psychological barriers to earn better results. One win may not mean much in the grander scheme of things, but it can be a game-changer in terms of morale.
“Maraming ginawang adjustments mga coaches namin sa play. For me, yung importante is yung confidence ng team,” said the Season 81 gold medalist.
“Kasi ang hirap talaga bumangon galing sa talo eh. But for us na we trust each other, naging mas madali yun eh.”
For La Salle to get its groove back sooner, it needs to field the likes of Mendaño, striker Shai del Campo, and captain Bea delos Reyes together.
The trio are the holdovers from the Lady Booters’ Season 81 conquest, and the Taft school was a totally different team when they were playing together against the Blue Eagles.
“Malaking importansya talaga na magkasama kaming tatlo sa loob ng field dahil nga kami yung matagal na magkasama at may experience na maglaro lalo na sa UAAP. Pero dahil sa nagrerecover pa si Shai eh kailangan namin magadjust,” said the Tondo, Manila, native.
“Magkasama man kami o hindi sa loob ng field, malaki ang tiwala namin sa mga iba pa naming teammates.”
Up next for La Salle is a tough match against league leaders Far Eastern University tomorrow. A win will allow the Lady Booters to be just three points behind the Lady Tamaraws. On the other hand, a loss or draw will allow the latter to protect its cushion over the former.
With so much at stake, Mendaño knows that she and her teammates need to work very hard to get the result that they need. This is the UAAP after all, and one victory can suddenly change the complexion of things.
“Sobrang halaga nito for us, kasi isa ito sa mga challenges samin para makatungtong sa ini-aim na goal ng team namin which is yung four-peat championship,” she said.
“So ayon, kayod kalabaw talaga. Kailangan kami lahat same page, at syempre sumunod sa mga directions at sinasabi ng coaches palagi.”