University of the East has begun life without four of its reliable cogs. And the absence of both Kath Arado and Judith Abil among others were immensely felt in the UAAP Season 82 opener of the Lady Red Warriors, Tuesday.
UE badly missed the defensive presence of Arado and Abil, since poor reception hounded the Lady Red Warriors in the face of Far Eastern University’s balanced offensive thrust and scorching service game. It culminated in a deflating straight-set defeat — an alarming start for a team looking to put its dreadful past behind.
“Pinaka-problema lang talaga namin is service receive kasi once na maka-receive kami, walang problema sa setting at sa attacking. ‘Yun lang talaga naging problema,” UE team captain Mean Mendrez said.
“Nagkaroon ng problema sa receive, kaya nawalan kami ng kumpiyansa, lalo na ako.”
It also didn’t help that the Lady Red Warriors struggled to sustain momentum. Despite picking up steam in the second and third sets, UE couldn’t preserve its rare cracks at the lead.
“Nahihirapan kami once maputol ‘yung momentum namin na sunud-sunod. Tapos hirap na kami ‘pag nalalamangan na,” the 21-year-old Mendrez admitted.
“‘Yun ang weak point namin ‘pag nalalamangan na, sobrang hirap humabol.”
Jasckin Babol, billed as the heir-apparent to Arado’s throne, was the lone bright spot for UE on the defensive end. She collected a double-double of 12 digs and 10 receptions, but it wasn’t enough to cover up the team’s defensive lapses.
So it’s easy to understand that floor coverage is going to be the main focus of the Lady Red Warriors when they plunge back into training.
“I think so,” Mendrez responded when asked of receiving as a focal point of UE’s upcoming training sessions.
“Siguro double time talaga kami, lalo na ako.”