University of the East almost had its first taste of victory in Season 84 after engaging in a five-set thriller against Far Eastern University on Tuesday afternoon. The Lady Warriors fell short anew as they failed to put the finishing touches on the game to lose 25-19, 15-25, 20-25, 25-17, 10-15, to the Lady Tamaraws.
The Recto-based squad had a strong start to the game and was leading, 19-14, in the first set when Apple Lingay twisted her knee after going for an attack.
After suffering a bad fall, she had to be stretchered out of the court as she finished the game with four points. The Lady Warriors still managed to secure the opening set victory but eventually missed Lingay’s contributions in the ensuing sets.
UE head coach Ronwald Dimaculangan claimed that they were a few points away from getting their first win of the season but their failure to execute in crunch time dampened their chances.
He also acknowledged the absence of his outside hitter after she went down with the injury and how it impacted the team’s performance for the remainder of the game.
“Sayang kinapos pero slowly, nakikita na natin ‘yung team,” he shared. “Past few games namin, nakakadikit pero ngayon nakakakuha na pero kinapos parin. Sayang lang na nawala ‘yung isang player namin si Apple Lingay pero nakakuha naman kahit papano sa second and third players namin.”
In the final set, the Lady Warriors couldn’t find an answer for the 8-0 run put up by the Lady Tamaraws which put them at an 8-13 disadvantage. Timely contributions from Chen Tagaod, Jean Asis, and Lycha Ebon powered FEU ahead of UE to take the final set, 15-10, en route to their first win of the season.
After a heartbreaking loss, Dimaculangan claimed that he still saw positives from the fight put up by his young squad.
Janeca Lana proved to be a bright spot for the team after scoring 20 points on 16 attacks, three blocks, and an ace to go with six excellent receptions. Meanwhile, Dara Nieva added 19 points on 15 attacks and four aces along with 17 excellent digs for UE.
“Siguro, hindi naman kami tumitingin sa silver linings pero malaking bagay ito sa development ng team namin na puro bata pa,” the first-year head coach stressed.
“For the past few games, si Janeca Lana ang pumupuntos sa amin pero more consistency pa. Si [Dara] Nieva naman maganda rin nilaro kanina. Happy kami sa nilaro niya at sana mag-tuloy tuloy pa.”
After dropping to a 0-3 start, the Lady Warriors will now brace for a tough challenge as they go up against the undefeated NU Lady Bulldogs on Thursday afternoon.
Dimaculangan’s players, however, will have to step up as they expect the absence of Lingay whose playing status remains uncertain for their upcoming game.
“Dinala na siya sa UERM kasi parang namamanhid na ‘yung paa ni Apple Lingay. Pupunta na kami doon para sunduin siya. Sana maganda ‘yung resulta ‘nung MRI niya. Uupdate namin kayo,” he said.