The energy from the UP crowd was electrifying. The UP Women’s Volleyball Team concluded UAAP Season 80 with a strong four-set win over UE, lifting them to a 6-8 finish. It was a third game winning streak for the Lady Fighting Maroons – a run that embodied the bright promise of their journey toward success.
In the midst of the celebration we were able to take a few minutes with UPWVT Head Coach Gody Okumu to talk about the game and the season.
UPWVT Official: Coach, congratulations on the game and terrific finish to the season.
Coach Gody: Thank you. I think this game (against UE) sums up our season – we started well but then we struggled. Then we adjusted and thankfully, we got the win.
UPWVT Official: Astute analogy, coach. This being your first year, what insights and thoughts do you have about UP and Philippine college volleyball?
Coach Gody: (laughs). The fans are intense (more laughter). They are also the MVP for us. They never left us even when we were losing. They continued to cheer for us. I have been told that the Philippines is the social media capital of the world. Whoever said that wasn’t joking.
Learnings . . . there is much work to be done not just in terms of skills and understanding of the game, but also in terms of maturity and mental (resilience). A lot. We also need to work on playing with pressure – focus, consistency. We are just starting our work. We got here in January and it’s only April. There’s a lot of work to be done.
UPWVT Official: Any other significant experiences?
Coach Gody: Yes, how to face this heat! It’s really hot and humid. (laughter)
UPWVT Official: What is next for the team? Are you playing in the PVL or the PSL?
Coach Gody: The team management is working that out. What I want is to have the team intact so we can continue to learn and grow as a team. We have to build on what we have achieved. For the next season or even the next tournament, there has to be improvement. We cannot play the same. We need to improve if we want to take the next step. We saw how (Marist) Layug and (Jessma) Ramos became key parts in the second round. We have to build them up so they can be better. Abbie (Lim) can be a factor for us. I like how Ayel (Estrañero) responded to the challenge playing different roles. Basically, for everyone. Including (Tots) Carlos and (Isa) Molde.
UPWVT Official: Was this a memorable year for you?
Coach Gody: Yes, it was. I am glad to be here.
We’re glad you’re with us, Coach Gody Okumu! Thank you for your drive and for your confidence in the UP Women’s Volleyball Team. Looking forward to the journey ahead!