Home Sports In defeat, UST finds defensive flaws that need addressing

In defeat, UST finds defensive flaws that need addressing

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UST Tigresses

One loss can never define a team.

Not, especially, if that loss came at the back of eight straight victories.

“It doesn’t end here,” star rookie Angeline Poyos said after University of Santo Tomas (UST) saw its perfect start to the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament come to an end in a 23-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20 defeat to National University (NU) last Sunday.

What the loss did, however, was expose some of the flaws the Tigresses need to correct.

“Like coach (KungFu Reyes) said, we missed a lot of things in this game,” Poyos said. “First of all, we did not communicate well and we lost our drive in the last set,” Poyos said.

But not all their flaws were in the intangibles. Even when they were riding an eight-game winning streak, the Tigresses were standing on shaky statistical ground. At the end of the first round, UST was sixth in the league in blocks and seventh in digging.

And against an NU squad that led the league in spiking, those defensive knocks were exposed.

“We learned a lot from this game. We had a lot of lapses and our scorers couldn’t convert. We don’t have any alibis why we lost the game but we had shortcomings in the defensive department, including our blocking and our service,” coach KungFu Reyes said.

UST’s size problems meant the Tigresses would always be challenged at the net, but they have made up for that in quickness, covering the court well enough to blunt opponents’ attacks. NU, however, solved that problem by moving the ball away from UST’s most tireless defender, libero and skipper Bernadett Pepito.

And the Tigresses can expect other teams to follow suit. Among the teams UST defeated in the first round, no one has been more vocal about payback than La Salle, which has an array of spikers and scoring middle blockers who can put a lot of stress on its opponent’s defense.

Reboot after Holy Week

UST hopes it can keep using its quickness and court coverage to negate that in the coming games.

“[W]hen we lose a point [or] we lose a set, [we should] not lose our character,” Reyes said. “And [now that] we lost a game, definitely we can’t lose the character that we showed [in our previous games].”

The longtime UST coach hopes their first taste of defeat will make the Tigresses better when they reboot their campaign after the Holy Week break.

“The good thing is we were able to experience and feel this loss as early as now. Their mental toughness will be tested, how to recover from this breaking point, especially their body language,” Reyes said. “We saw what we can still teach to these young players. Of course, their tactical skills are already there, it’s more on the emotional side that we need to tackle for our upcoming games.”



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His players—Poyos, at least—seem to be on the same page about the defeat.

“We will use this loss as motivation for our next games,” the talented outside hitter said after finishing with 18 points against NU. “We swept the first round and now we lost. We will use that as motivation to work harder in the second round.”





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