Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Turning a new leaf for the NU Lady Bulldogs volleyball team

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Turning a new leaf for the NU Lady Bulldogs volleyball team
by rick olivares

The National University Lady Bulldogs are on a three-match win streak. After losing their season opener to two-time defending champions Ateneo in Season 78 of the UAAP Women’s Volleyball tournament, Roger Gorayeb’s Lady Bulldogs have taken down two impressive teams in Adamson and La Salle before crushing hapless University of the East to move up to solo second with a 3-1 record.

However, the veteran coach believes that they haven’t done anything yet. “I am looking for consistency,” he stated.

Gorayeb thinks that their last Shakey’s V-League title might have lulled his team into a false sense of accomplishment. “We know that Ateneo wasn’t 100% in those Finals. We also won with (guest players) Rubie De Leon and Dindin Santiago on our team. We don’t have those two now.”

The NU coach, while elated at his team’s big wins against Adamson and La Salle, urges caution. "We almost bungled that game against La Salle. We were leading two sets to none then in the third set we lost. In the fourth set, we were down again.”

“Hindi sa tingin ko La Salle is not a good team. On the contrary, sila yung model ng team perfection — solid players, pare-pareho mga suot ultimo hanggang medyas at sapatos. Excellent sila fundamentally. Nakaka-sindak. Kami naman, we’re just trying to pick up the pieces and play consistently.”

With La Salle poised to send the match to a fifth set, Gorayeb called for a time out with the score 20-14 with the Lady Spikers in the lead. "I showed disgust to my team during that game,” recalled Gorayeb who didn’t say anything to them at all during the time out instead asking assistant Edget Mabbayad to talk to them.

“Alam namin na kapag hindi nagsasalita si coach galit na siya,” said NU open hitter Myla Pablo. “Yung problema kasi namin yung consistency."

The Lady Bulldogs incredibly turned it around and won the fourth set, 25-23, to take the upset win. “I long for the day when people will no longer say ‘upset win yung NU.’ But we need to earn it hindi binibigay ng basta basta yun.”

The coach related a story from last year’s Final Four where the Lady Bulldogs defeated La Salle in three sets in the first match. “I wanted to see how the team would react to that win,” related Gorayeb. It was NU’s first ever volleyball win against La Salle. Ever. And the team already celebrated like they won a championship. “Nakita ko ‘to when I was in Ateneo. We defeated La Salle in Game One of the Season 74 Finals. First namin yun and grabe rin yung locker room celebration. Sobra. After that, na-blanka kami in the next two games. So nag-flashback ako sa team ng NU last year. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na huwag mag-celebrate. Okay lang kahit konti pero malayo pa tayo."

In the locker room post-match, the NU head coach reminded them about their character. “Against Ateneo, we fell. Against La Salle, nakatayo kami. Sa ngayon, 3-1 kami. Malayo pa tayo."

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