NU broke a short spell after plastering Iriga, 25-15, 25-16, 25-18, in the 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference Monday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Lady Bulldogs were dominant on all fronts, firing 35 spikes, scoring off 7 blocks, and delivering 12 service aces to make coach Roger Gorayeb happy post-game.
“Kahit natatalo kami, masaya kami,” said the veteran mentor on the back-to-back losses NU suffered against powerhouse clubs Pocari Sweat and Bali Pure. “Kung ibe-base ko sa performance namin, masayang masaya ako.”
After a disastrous performance in UAAP Season 78, where the Lady Bulldogs failed to make it to the Final Four for the first time since the 2011-12 season, Gorayeb has a lot of reasons to smile because of how his girls have played as a team in the tourney so far.
“Yung inaasam kong pagbabago, andun na,” he said. “Happy na ako yung mga gusto kong mangyari lumalabas.”
Gorayeb singled out Jasmine Nabor for the Sampaloc squad’s resurgence, as the spiker-turned-setter has been in control for NU since taking over for the departed Ivy Perez, Azie Soliven and Rica Diolan.
Perez and Soliven have used up their playing years while Diolan left the school before the Shakey’s V-League began, leading Gorayeb to tap the shy Nabor to take on the playmaking cudgels for the Lady Bulldogs.
“Pinaka-malaking factor namin si Jas e,” he said, matter-of-factly. “Nagiging magaan talaga kapag walang tension between setter and spiker. Palibhasa napakabait ni Jas. Di mo nakikita na nagsisimangutan sila.”
“Napaka-low profile na bata. Napaka-humble. Napaka-down-to-earth niya,” he added. “Pag nagalit si Nabor, parang napakalaking kasalanan na nagawa mo.”
True enough, Nabor was an all-around factor for NU anew, as she finished with 26 excellent sets on top of 10 points highlighted by 4 blocks.
And as the Lady Bulldogs continue their V-League journey, Gorayeb wants his wards to keep on playing with a nothing-to-lose attitude and consider the competition as a learning experience.
After all, the most important thing is to get them ready for the UAAP Season 79 wars next year.
“Nandun sila dapat sa psychology na nagbabago kami,” he said of his team. “Kailangan namin magbago.” — By Josiah Albelda