But the Lady Tamaraws showed no signs of disappointment or regret after the match.
Smiling and greeting family members waiting for them, there was an aura of pride around the Lady Tamaraws, as if they were unfazed by their straight-sets loss to La Salle. FEU setter Gyzelle Sy, who set social media abuzz when she decided to use her final playing year in the UAAP, explained why the team was still upbeat despite the loss.
“Okay ‘yung performance namin as a team, kinapos lang kami sa dulo. Sabi nila coach, wag kaming mahiya. Natalo kami na lumalaban kami,” Sy explained.
FEU had had last year’s runner-up on the ropes multiple times during their bout. The Lady Tamaraws took early leads in the first two sets, but were just unable to close out either one. They led by four during the opening set, and were even able to take set point twice before succumbing to the Lady Spikers. The second set was similar, with the Lady Tams taking a 14-11 lead before La Salle made a run to salvage the set.
For a team that’s in the process of incorporating new pieces, morale victories might serve just as well as actual wins.
As one of the seniors on the team, Sy wants to lead by example and show the team how to respond to coaching. “Sabi nga nila a good leader is a good follower. So kailangan ko muna sundin yung sinasabi ng mga coaches ko so that pag ako naman yung nagsalita, susundin naman ako ng teammates ko,” expressed Sy.
“Hindi naman sila mahirap i-handle, kasi lahat sila nakikinig, nakikisama. At saka hindi ako mag-isa nag-uusap sa court. May katulong din naman ako.”
Although she had spent her time away from FEU playing in the V-League and the PSL, Sy acknowledges that nothing matches the pressure of playing in the UAAP. Like her team, Sy needs time to get back into her groove.
“Para sa akin siyempre nag a-adjust pa rin kasi first game ko ngayon. Kanina kinausap ako ni coach, sabi niya wag ako malungkot kasi babalik at babalik yung nilalaro ko.”
“Siguro kailangan pa namin palakasin yung service receive. Yun talaga naging weakness namin eh. Pag nawalan kami ng receive, yung atake namin magiging dulo-dulo lang eh. Mawawalan ng connection sa middle attackers, magiging open open lang (yung atake) at madaling i-block. Kailangan namin i-practice yung middle attack para maging effective yung combination play.”
One thing she is thankful for, amidst all the hoopla of her return and the pressure that comes along with it, is the understanding of her head coach, Shaq Delos Santos.
“Bago magstart yung game niyakap ako ni coach at sinabi niya sa akin ipakita ko lang yung natural na Gyzelle Sy. Siyempre pagbalik ko ang daming nag e-expect, kailangan manalo, mga ganoon. Pero sabi ng coaches ko, ipakita ko lang yung natural na laro ko,” the former UAAP Best Setter closed.
FEU will attempt to right the ship when they go against the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors on Sunday, February 7, 4 pm at the FilOil Flying V Centre