What’s wrong with the NU Lady Bulldogs?
by rick olivares
The most underachieving team in the UAAP (per potential, money pumped into the program, and recruiting) has fallen into form. And that’s their underachieving and maddening form.
They won three straight then lost the next three to fall to an even 3-3. However, if you look at it as a whole, even in two of their wins, they didn’t play well and that was against the bottom dwellers Adamson and UE.
So were they good at all despite winning the Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference?
Yes, they are. The question surrounding this team for the past few years was their mental fortitude. I have postulated before that for NU, they perform well when there are far less expectations.
When they won the SVL Collegiate Conference, truthfully, no one knew how good they’d be because they were coming off losing Myla Pablo and another disastrous UAAP stint. They played with a joy in their faces in a pressure free situation.
So what’s wrong?
There’s the lack of mental strength. We’ve gone through that.
Jasmine Nabor isn’t 100%. Playmaking-wise, she’s all right. She had 52 excellent sets to Alina Bicar’s 30 yesterday. Granted that Bicar tag teamed with Alexine Cabanos so that affects her overall stats. In the game against FEU, Nabor once more had 55 to the 47 of Gel Cayuna.
Hitting-wise, there’s a remarkable drop in her attacks.
Vs. UE – 5 points
Vs. Ateneo – 8 points
Vs. Adamson – 3 points
Vs. La Salle – 1 point
Vs. FEU – 2 points
Vs. UST – 1 point
Nabor healthy and also scoring gives NU another dimension. She has approximated when Rubie De Leon as a guest play gave to the Lady Bulldogs. Unfortunately, injuries are part of the game.
Three, other players who are not performing well. To be precise, Jorelle Singh and Joy Doromal.
During their SVL title run, Singh averaged 9.7 points. In her stint with the Laoag Power Smashers in the most recent Reinforced Conference, she averaged 15.3 points for her side.
Against UE, Singh scored 12 agonizing points. The one game she played well was against Ateneo where she scored 16 points. Then there’s the drop off…
Vs. Adamson – 7 points
Vs. La Salle – 5 points
Vs. FEU 7 points
Vs. UST – 7 points
Singh can jump but has problems consistently hitting the ball downwards. Far too often it sails out and wide.
Then there’s Joy Doromal.
Vs. Adamson - 2 sets, 1 point
Vs. La Salle - 3 sets, 0 points
Vs. FEU - 1 set, 0 points
Vs. UST – 1 set, 0 points
Doromal played well during two conferences in the last SVL season.
While Aiko Urdas is getting more playing time now, the contributions aren’t much. It should come from those who were in-form heading into this UAAP season. As for Risa Sato, the jury is still out on her contributions.
And fourth, Gayle Valdez needs to play better. All of a sudden, she’s become shaky again. Joni Chavez was thrown in yesterday and she looked a little surprised she started. Her expression upon the introductions was, “Me?” She had good moments and forgettable ones. But Gayle is the veteran. She should find away.
The loss to UST last Wednesday that saw them drop all the way to sixth spot. Fortunately for them, only one win separates them from FEU and UP although UST has leapfrogged over them by virtue of its win. The Lady Tamaraws and the Golden Tigresses will separate from one another when they meet on Saturday.
Now, there’s still a lot of volleyball to be played ahead. However, you do not want to get too far behind in the pack.
Head coach Roger Gorayeb was calm and quiet. He simply asked the players to reach deep within themselves. And they have to figure all of that out because their next opponent is UP that is also in a funk after a great start.
A loss for either side will be tough.