Coach Kungfu lauds Laure, UST's supporting cast

Published May 25, 2022, 2:00 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Eya Laure has been a consistent scoring machine for the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses.

UST Golden Tigresses (UAAP Media Bureau)

In their last game of the first round against the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Laure dropped 31 points built on 30 spikes to help the Tigresses eke out a 25-19, 25-21, 29-31, 33-31 win in a four-set thriller last May 19.

UST head coach Kungfu Reyes couldn’t be more thankful that the team has someone like Laure, who is currently the leading best scorer in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament with a total of 160 points.

Aside from Laure, Reyes is confident with the team’s support system and gelling heading into the season.

Laure, the team captain, is the one who steers the team. In the event that she crumbles, at least the Tigresses are there to step up, and it’s something that Reyes heaped praises about.

“‘Yon ang pinakamaganda sa lahat, ‘yong support system,” said the long-time UST tactician. “31 points is nothing kung the rest is nakaaasa o nakababa sa kanya (Laure). ‘Di niya kami kaya kaming buhatin all throughout the game. Otherwise bibigay at bibigay din ‘to, tao lang din na napapagod.”

Reyes said Laure’s consecutive errors down the stretch were uncharacteristic of her, adding that the eagerness to score made a lot of room for errors.

But it is still a good sign that Laure, a former Rookie of the Year, won’t back down from a fight. When push comes to shove, Reyes had planned to sub Laure out, at least for an interval of one or two points, to take a short breather.

“Luckily, ‘di na namin kailangan pumunta doon. Kasi nandiyan naman ‘yong support system. Sabi nga namin, malakas kami ‘pag bumabalik kami sa sistema namin. Buong buo ‘yon,” added Reyes.

Imee Hernandez, who came back from an injury, provided firepower for the Tigresses with 14 points while Kecelyn Galdones and Ypril Tapia scored 12 and 11 markers, respectively.

As a team captain, Laure emphasized that she should be the last woman to fall in the worst case scenario.

“Siyempre patatagan talaga ng isip, ng dibdib po talaga. Sinabi ko na lang din habang naghu-huddle kami sa gitna na, ‘Walang duwag na tigre.’ So, sumigaw ako non. Doon napitpit sa latter part,” said the 23-year-old Laure. “Kahit papaano nag-reflect ‘yong mga five-setter namin na games doon sa game namin (against Ateneo).”

With a week break from volleyball, Laure and the Tigresses will maximize the time they have to get a much-needed recovery from the grueling schedule. They will next face the Adamson Lady Falcons in the second-round opener on Thursday, May 26 at 10 a.m.