Posted Feb 16th 2014
New Coach, New Hope for Lady Maroons
By Donjie Carreon Posted Nov 24th 2013
The University of the Philippines Lady Maroons are looking to improve on their seventh place finish last season with a new coach who promises that this team will show more fight in the UAAP women’s volleyball campaign.
However, new coach Jerry Yee faces a daunting task as he still has to rely on the same team that only won twice in 14 tries—both against the University of the East— last season.
Yee, who made a name for himself in leading the Hope Christian High School to several national titles, is hopeful that the focus on improving players’ basic skills during the offseason will help the squad perform better.
“We started from scratch. I tried to address the basics para tumaas yung tiwala nila sa sarili. I hope we come out fighting. Ang problema kasi dati medyo mahina ang loob at kulang sa exposure.... Wala naman kaming papupuntahan but up,” he said.
Yee expects sophomore Katherine Bersola to step up to lead the team this season, noting the middle blocker’s improved ability to attack from the middle. He added that with the team lacking in a setter, open spiker Nicole Tiamzon has been shifted to that role to organize the attacks and help the defense. He also expects a boost from the return of veteran Angeli Araneta, who can provide maturity.
“Katherine Bersola is an exceptional athlete, and she’s vastly improved in attacking from the middle. Si Nicole naman ginawa naming setter since we don’t have any and kasi siya yung pinaka-suitable i-convert because she is athletic and smart enough .We also needed someone with above-average height to also address the blocking issue,” he said.
The continued improvement of the Lady Maroon holdovers is crucial because Yee admits that the team did not attract any blue chip talents to bolster the line-up.
“I came in around May and that’s already too late for recruitment kasi some players have already made commitments by February. We did not get the ones we were hoping for. Resource wise, it’s also harder to compete against the other teams [that have more funding support],” he said.
Although the team does not expect any significant boost from its rookies, there are encouraging signs in the offseason that the focus on internal development will yield positive results come the UAAP wars. Yee cited the Lady Maroons strong showing in two offseason tournaments that other UAAP teams also joined as proof of UP’s readiness
“Of course the UAAP competition is different….Our motivation si simple: sawa na kaming matalo. With the line-up we have, we are as ready as can be. We hope to be at least in the mix, matalo man competitive. Sana we come out fighting,” he said.