University of the Philippines has put premium on consistency while stressing to finish strong as it sets out for a first-ever crack at a Premier Volleyball League championship against a fancied Far Eastern U side beginning tomorrow (Sunday) at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
UP coach Godfrey Okumu recalled how their 42 miscues hastened their downfall in the Lady Maroons’ 25-15, 23-25, 25-15, 23-25, 7-15 loss to the Lady Tams in their elims meeting in the PVL Collegiate Conference last Aug. 18. The latter actually clinched the win on the former’s wayward service and two attack errors that sailed wide.
“FEU beat us already so we are coming out knowing we’ve lost against FEU once. In that game, we shot ourselves in the foot: serving out at the net, spiking out on crucial moments. So that’s what we’ll talk about. Let’s not make those crucial mistakes towards the end of the game,” said Okumu.
The fourth ranked Lady Maroons actually had more than made up for that FEU setback as they bucked the odds and toppled the top seeded Adamson Lady Falcons in the rubber match of their best-of-three semifinal last week.
But ranged against team rich in championship experience, the Lady Maroons would also need grit and display endgame poise to hurdle the Lady Tams in their first-ever stint in a finale.
Isa Molde, Marian Buitre, Aie Gannaban, Roselyn Rosier and Ayel Estrañero are out to prove their worth, getting the extra boost from their breakthrough finals appearance in the tournament organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Asics.
“It (getting into the finals) is very special. The players knew what they had to do (against Adamson in the semis). The players knew that this was a sign of many more things to come,” said Okumu.
But the Lady Tams also believe they are ripe for the picking after finishing second here and in the UAAP last year with coach George Pascua to heavily lean on their championship experience against the surging Lady Maroons.
That should make tomorrow’s Game One, set at 6 p.m., worth watching with both sides eager to prove their worth after toppling the top two seeds in a pair of sudden deaths that spoke well of the character of the title protagonists.
Meanwhile, Adamson and UST also begin their own best-of-three for third at 4 p.m.
Both matches can be viewed via streaming on www.abs-cbn.com/livestream/pvl and on Sports + Action Channel 23.
National U and UST also start their title duel at 12 noon with FEU and Adamson tangling for third place at 10 a.m.