Lack of mental toughness, not skills, has caused the heartbreaking downfall of San Sebastian College in the recent NCAA women’s volleyball finals.
San Sebastian’s multi-titled coach Roger Gorayeb made this assessment a day after the Lady Stags succumbed to the Arellano Lady Chiefs for the crown.
They lost in Game 1, 25-18, 25-20, 25-16; Game 2, 18-25, 25-16, 25-11, 26-28, 15-13; and in Game 3 last Tuesday, 25-15, 22-25, 25-23, 25-16.
“Mabilis kaming ma-demoralize,” Gorayeb lamented.
“Hindi na talent, eh. Mahina ang loob namin lalo na dun sa mga crucial na puntos. Kulang kami sa maturity. Hindi kaagad kami makapag-adjust kapag nagkakamali kami,” he added.
Fancied in the matchup after sweeping the nine-game elims for an outright finals berth, Gorayeb saw his stalwarts’ old fiery form vanish as they bowed to Arellano three times in the series.
“Para bang binagsakan kami ng langit at lupa,” said Gorayeb.
Worse, it was déjà vu for San Sebastian as it was the second straight year that it failed to take advantage of its thrice-to-beat incentive in the finals.
Last season, the Lady Stags also advanced outright in the finals via an elims sweep, only to lose to the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers, 3-1.
Gorayeb said they lacked aggressiveness inside the court while struggling to support three-time MVP and key player Grethcel Soltones offensively.
“Kahit anong iikot ko, hindi ako makakuha ng makakatulong kay Grethcel sa atake,” said Gorayeb.
“Outside the court, mababait at tahimik naman ang mga players ko. Pero nadadala nila yon sa laro eh. Kulang ba sa bagsik. Natutulala,” he added.
Despite the loss, Gorayeb said he doesn’t have hard feelings for his players.
“Hindi naman masama ang loob ko. Nalulungkot ako para sa kanila kasi yung championship, para sa kanila naman yun eh, hindi naman yun para sa akin,” said Gorayeb.
With Soltones graduating this year, as well as Katherine Villegas and Denice Lim, Gorayeb has already anticipated a tougher challenge to lift San Sebastian next season.
“Sobrang hirap next season, pero dumadating talaga yan eh. Kailangan lang magsikap nang husto,” said Gorayeb.