With the way the FilOil Flying V Centre was hopping in the third set, it was hard to tell who was ahead in Game One of the PVL Collegiate Conference Finals.
The Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws were up 2-0 with a chance to close the match. Their section in the lower box was going crazy.
But at least 80-percent of the stands was filled with maroon-clad University of the Philippines fans. And despite the Lady Maroons’ dismal start, the UP faithful never let up in their cheering.
Eventually, the Lady Maroons gave them a reason to cheer, as they climbed back in the next two sets. The UP gallery’s fervor reached its crescendo in the fifth set – UP finished off the FEU and, with every point, the crowd grew crazier until Isa Molde capped the match.
Most of the time, pre-game preparations and in-game adjustments win volleyball matches. But sometimes, it’s the intangibles that push teams over the edge.
“I really would like to thank the UP fans – you saw them out there,” UP head coach Godfrey Okumu told reporters. Each win, the Kenyan mentor makes sure to address UP’s supporters in his post-match presser.
This time, he made sure to emphasize his gratitude.
“I think we came out strong after losing two sets. The fans never gave up on us. They kept on pushing us, they never lost hope.”
Fourth year spiker Molde agreed.
“Kung nakikita mo ‘yung crowd na ganoon na hindi sumusuko sa’yo, parang wala kang excuse na sukuan ‘yung sarili mo eh,” admitted Molde, who tallied 16 points.
With a chance to win UP’s first major title since 1986, Molde hopes they get the same reception again in Game Two on Wednesday.
“Alam naman namin na hindi talaga sila nagsasawa. Sana, nandoon sila para sa Game Two.”