The UP Lady Maroons opened their season 81 campaign with back-to-back wins against the UE Lady Warriors in 5 sets and FEU Lady Tamaraws in 4 sets last February 16 and 20 at FilOil Flying V Arena.
After labouring a five-set victory over the Lady Warriors in their first game, 25-12, 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12, the Lady Maroons snatched the solo lead after ending their eight-game losing streak in four straight years with the season 80 finalist, the Lady Tamaraws, in four sets 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, 25-20.
The Kenyan Coach acknowledged the team’s continuous improvement in a post-game interview with ABS-CBN Sports.
“Our team is changing. It’s not how we used to play before. Every day we keep on changing and we’re trying to improve step by step. We just play our volleyball… we would be ready for the next game. But again, nothing comes easy, it’s a struggle,”ABS CBN Sport, Mark Escarlote
The Lady Maroons was never considered as a powerhouse volleyball team in over three decades, since their last UAAP championship was in season 45 back in 1983.
The winning streak of the Lady Maroons started when UP tapped the Kenyan coach Godfrey Okumu to take over the coaching role in season 80, but fell short after finishing the season with a 6-8 win-loss card.
The successful pre-season of the Lady Maroons left them highly anticipated in season 81 after winning two championships in Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference and Philippine SuperLiga Collegiate Grand Slam where Isa Molde and Tots Carlos were hailed as MVP, respectively.