After a disappointing UAAP Season 78 campaign, National University hopped on the “Change is Coming” movement immediately in retooling the Lady Bulldogs lineup.
Along with the graduation of seniors Myla Pablo, Ivy Perez and Asi Soliven, rookie setter Rica Diolan transferred to a different school, former Shakey’s V-League Best Libero Bia General will no longer play out her final season while several of NU’s bench players were also removed from the Lady Bulldogs’ SVL lineup.
Head coach Roger Gorayeb saw these changes necessary to change the team’s culture. The Triple Crown SVL champion coach admitted that his team lacked discipline and some players just could not adjust to his strict ways.
“Nakita niyo naman yung sitwasyon namin noong nakaraan. Itong team na ito, na-inherit ko lang naman ito, medyo hindi maganda yung naging performance noong nakaraan. Wala naman akong mabunot. So ngayon nag-aayos na ako ng mga player,” Gorayeb told Tiebreaker Times during the Shakey’s V-League’s opening ceremonies.
“Katulad noong dati sa Ateneo, madaming player. Inalis ko yung iba tapos yung mga butas, unti-unti kong binuo. Ganoon din ang gagawan ko sa NU,” the decorated mentor continued.
Gorayeb wanted to instill his rigid system that requires players to be incredibly disciplined both on and off the court. This major shift in the program caused internal strife according to Gorayeb.
“May sistema sila bago ako dumating. Hindi nila ma-adapt yung sistema na gusto ko kaya nagkakaroon ng friction. Minsan okay (kami), minsan hindi. So ang pinakasolusyon talaga is magpasok na nang mga player na magsisimula talaga sa akin.”
Diolan, who won a Best Setter award in the UAAP Juniors, was allowed to transfer easily said Gorayeb although he is unsure to which school she is now enrolled.
“Hinayaan na lang namin. Wala namang problema sa akin. Sa akin naman kung ayaw ng player, madali lang ako kausap,” said Gorayeb.
With his other former players, Gorayeb cited a dire lack in skill for their removal from te lineup.
“Wala naman problema yung iba sa ugale – maraming mababaet diyan. Ang problema yung skill naman. Hindi pa rin uubra. I would rather have 10 players than 14 na may mga hindi ako magagamit,” he explained.
Now, Gorayeb feels that he is finally starting from scratch.
He still has the towering Jaja Santiago in the lineup with reliable scorers Jorelle Singh and Aiko Urdas. Fil-Japanese middle blocker Risa Sato will also debut for the blue and gold in the SVL. By January, Gorayeb will also be adding a 5’9″ Fil-American setter who just graduated from high school in California.
“Inuumpisihan ko sila sa basic na basic. Hindi ko kasi nagawa yun noong nakaraan. Pagpasok ko January na, tapos V-League agad,” Gorayeb recalled the time he first took over for NU right in the middle of UAAP Season 77.
Gorayen is thankful that the NU management backed him up in all his decisions with the squad.
“Sinasabi ko sa kanila kailangan umpisihan talaga sa umpisa. Kahit si Hans Sy, binigyan niya na ako ng blanket of authority.”