Offensively, the National University Lady Bulldogs can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the UAAP. Their mental struggles and losses, however, manifest themselves in their service reception.
Currently, the Lady Bulldogs are ranked eighth in the league in reception and are in the bottom half in digging.
Against the lowly University of the East Lady Warriors early Sunday afternoon, NU’s backline — particularly their liberos — struggled mightily. With neither Joni Chavez nor Gayle Valdez contributing anything on defense, NU opted not to field any libero in the third and fourth set.
NU still won the match, but head coach Roger Gorayeb insisted that his squad cannot go on without help from any of their defensive specialists.
“May libero ka na ine-expect mo tutulong sa receive, kung di sila tutulong okay lang. Wala na rin akong masabi tungkol sa kanila,” Gorayeb lamented.
“Ang sabi ko nga kanina, hindi sila puwedeng isa o dalawa lang beses lang sila gagawa nang maganda sa depense, kailangan lagi silang makakatulong sa amin. Kawawa naman ‘yung mga middle namin. Sila na nga ‘yung pabalik-balik sa net, tapos dedepensa pa sila,” the multi-titled mentor furthered.
The Lady Bulldogs are momentarily ahead in a tight race for the last two Final Four spots, with their 6-4 record good for a tie with the University of Santo Tomas and ahead of the 5-5 Far Eastern University and University of the Philippines.
The spikers from Jhocson Street, however, have a tough schedule ahead, beginning with a match against the league-leading Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles in Wednesday.
Although NU have eked out an early season win over Ateneo, Gorayeb acknowledges that both teams are in totally different states.
“Mahirap kasi marami nang nangyare sa aming pareho ng Ateneo since then. Sila mataas ang kumpiyansa tapos kami hinahanap ulet namin. Sana makita namin,” admitted the former mentor of the Lady Eagles.