MANILA, Philippines – After La Salle absorbed its "worst loss of the season" against the University of the Philippines (UP), middle blocker Lourdes Clemente stepped up to prove her bashers wrong.
Clemente shrugged off all the hate from her last game where she had a spate of errors, including an inexplicable serve that went under the net.
Instead, Clemente – an NCAA transferee playing a one-and-done season with La Salle – bounced back by helping strengthen the Lady Spikers' frontline defense with 9 points, including 5 blocks, as they cruised to their sixth win in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament on Wednesday, March 27 against the young, gritty National University.
"Iyon nga po, nag-focus talaga ako,” said Clemente. “Kasi last time [against UP], nag-focus ako lagi, ang first ko po muna [na iisipin] is sa palo talaga muna," recalled Clemente.
"Siguro, nakalimutan ko po yung service, masyado akong nag-focus sa net. Kaya pagdating ko sa service area, eh pag hindi ako nabigyan sa harap, parang nag-doubt ako."
(I really focused on this game. Last game against UP, I focused more on my attacks than my service. I started to doubt myself when I didn’t make my attacks.)
Clemente even added that the crowd in Ynares Antipolo was calling her out and bashing her when she was at the service line.
After the game where the Lady Spikers gave up a whopping 37 errors – including a bunch of service errors – the netizens were merciless in pointing out the middle blocker's crucial mistakes. (READ: De Jesus: La Salle still looking for leadership)
Clemente was visibly upset after the Sunday slump, but vowed to bounce back.
"Tapos after ng game na yun, sabi ko sa sarili ko, babawi ako. Prove them wrong," said the former Perpetual Help star.
(After that game, I told myself that I would bounce back. Prove them wrong.)
Clemente revealed that coach Ramil de Jesus’ words also buoyed the Lady Spikers' spirits during their game against the Lady Bulldogs.
"Lagi kaming nire-remind ni coach na maniwala ka lang sa sarili mo, maniwala ka lang sa kasama mo, at maniwala kayo sa team niyo na malakas kayo. Yun lang ang lagi niyang nire-remind na nagpa-wake up sa amin kanina sa amin sa game," said Clemente.
(Coach Ramil always reminds us that we should believe in ourselves and in our teammates. He told us to believe that our team is strong enough to win. That woke us up during our game.)
Moreover, the Lady Spikers limited their errors to just 10 and made 8 aces against NU.
De Jesus said the Lady Spikers are more focused on improving their game instead of wresting pole position from rival Ateneo.
“Well kami basta one game at a time, kailangan namin... sabi ko sa kanila, hangga't maari huwag na tayong matalo para mas maganda," said De Jesus. "Ngayon, kung ano man ang standing nila... basta ang hanap namin umabot kami sa taas. Kung lalampasan namin [Ateneo] okay; kung hindi, basta andoon kami sa taas."
(It’s just one game at a time for us. I told my team that we shouldn’t drop any more games, if possible. Whatever our standing is, our goal is to remain in the top 4. If we can surpass Ateneo, it’s fine; if not, at least we’re in the top 4.) – Leigh Nald Cabildo/Rappler.com