It did not come as a surprise that Coach Ramil De Jesus ordered his players to return to the Razon Sports Center for an evening practice right after their hard-fought victory over NU. Being the perfectionist that he is, this happens normally if they lose a match.
But for this case – even if they won, they played surprisingly sloppy.
No offense to the Lady Bulldogs, they have a young but talented core that will definitely contend in the coming seasons. But this is the Lady Spikers we are talking here, we don’t even have to explain why they are expected not to play sluggishly even for just one bit.
It was evident that after their dominant 25-10 Set 1 win, the Lady Spikers became overconfident and began to relax. As a result, numerous errors especially on the service line. A shocker considering how the team is known to excel in this area.
With that, NU managed to gain enough confidence to take the next set and made a game out of it until the end. La Salle suddenly became shell-shocked as they didn’t know what hit them. Lucky for them, they showed enough championship composure down the stretch to outlast their opponent in 4 sets.
They dodged a bullet here. No matter how talented they are, they can’t afford to play loose and just decide to “flip the switch” when the going gets tough. They have to play consistent and with the same energy regardless who their opponent is. If this was against a more seasoned team, the end-result would have probably been different.
The level of play they display whenever they go up against Ateneo – the energy, the resolve, the swag, that’s how they should be in EVERY game. Their psychological edge has to be maximized and not simply focused on just one team. Remember, other teams have stepped up this season and are eager to give the Lady Spikers a good challenge.
The girls must realize that being a three-time defending champion, every team would be more inspired to play better against them. All the more they need to take it up a notch.
It’s a good thing Coach Ramil quickly took the necessary steps to address their flaws early in the season. We look forward to see much better showing from them against UP tomorrow. The Lady Maroons have won the major collegiate preseason tournaments and would very much want to duplicate the feat achieved by their men’s basketball counterparts.
This promises to be a great match-up.