MANILA, Philippines – A disastrous opening frame set the tone for University of the Philippines (UP) in their UAAP Season 80 game against Adamson University on Wednesday.
The Lady Maroons – who entered the match as the league's worst receiving team – gave up a whopping eight aces in Set 1 to the Lady Falcons. Mylene Paat – who is not even the best server in her team – accounted for six of those points.
UP lost the opening set by a score of 25-9. Fittingly, it was another service ace from Paat that sealed the deal for Adamson. They were far more competitive in the next two frames, but the Lady Maroons could not get over the hump and were swept in straight sets by the Lady Falcons.
Coach Godfrey Okumu acknowledged that their poor performance in the opening set affected them all throughout the contest.
"The first set was really a big deal for me as a coach, because that's how the game started," said Okumu, who is in his first season as UP's head coach. "If you start well, you play well all throughout."
"But if you start in a shaky way, the way we were shaky with our passing, then that's why we got the results," he lamented.
That UP struggled to come up with good first balls was not a surprise. They are dead last in the league in receiving, with an efficiency rate of only 10.53%. Still, their performance against Adamson was disappointing as they gave up a total of 17 aces, and had only 22 excellent receptions out of 71 tries.
Justine Dorog had 12 excellent receptions and skipper Tots Carlos was credited with six, but both of them were also responsible for some truly poor first balls that hampered UP's ability to set up its offense.
"Hindi kami kumpiyansa," admitted Carlos, who had 12 points in the game. "Last time (vs. De La Salle University), 'yung first ball 'yung naging problem namin. Nadala siya sa game na 'to. Hindi kami nag-uusap sa court."
"Ayun, start ng game nahirapan kami sa pasa. Parang naging domino effect na siya," she explained.
They were more competitive in the second and third set and the Lady Maroons even dragged the Lady Falcons to an extended Set 2. However, Okumu admitted that their recovery came too late.
"We were able to recover in the second set and the third set as well, we were able to push. But I think, it was a little much too late in our fighting," said the coach. "We did not start well, that's why the results were not good."
"We should have played better in the first set."
The loss to Adamson is UP's second consecutive defeat. They previously bowed to La Salle in straight sets last Saturday – a game that saw them give up three consecutive aces to Michelle Cobb in the third set.
Okumu acknowledged that they have plenty of things to work on before their next game – a showdown with an equally reeling Far Eastern University team on Saturday.
"We have to really think on what was wrong, so that we don't start that way," he said. "We started in a very slow way, so I believe that by Saturday, we have adjusted."
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