With better support, Eya Laure looks to settle unfinished business in UST
MANILA, Philippines — Eya Laure is eager to settle her unfinished business in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament as she leads a revamped University of Santo Tomas team.
Laure, last season’s top scorer with a total of 272 points in the elimination round, took some time before deciding whether she would come back as a Golden Tigress after their third-seeded team collapsed in the stepladder semifinal and lost to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a do-or-die game.
But the 23-year-old spiker made up her mind last July to continue to play for UST because she wants to finish what she started.
“Kaya rin siguro ako nandito, kasi may mga bagay na hindi pa ako ready na aalis ako kasi hindi ko natapos,” said Laure told the reporters in the league’s press launch on Wednesday.
“Kahit papano, yung isang pumapasok lagi sa isip ko kasi kapag aalis na ako sa UST, parang hindi pa talaga kaya, kasi nga may mga bagay akong sinimulan na hindi ko pa natatapos,” she added.
(Maybe that’s the reason why I’m still here is because I’m not yet ready to go. I can’t leave UST yet because there are things I started but haven’t finished yet.)
In Laure’s rookie year in 2019, she and Sisi Rondina helped UST reach the finals only to injure her ankle in Game 2. She still played through pain in Game 3 but Ateneo captured the crown.
Her sophomore season was wiped out by the pandemic and she failed to lead the Tigresses back to the Finals last year.
Laure, who is turning 24 on March 20, still has one playing year left but whether this will be her final UAAP season remains in the backburner as her main focus is leading the young Tigresses with her fellow holdovers Imee Hernandez, KC Galdones, and libero Bernadett Pepito.
“This could be my last playing year, but it depends. I’m not thinking about it, because I told my coaches that I will decide after this season,” the 2019 UAAP top rookie said in Filipino.
“The pressure, expectations, and standards will always be there every season. But my mindset is to play and give my best, and of course, the coaches are always there for me and my teammates,” she added.
NO MORE COLLAPSE
The 5-foot-10 hitter got more help this season with Milena Alessandrini returning to action after four years and several promising newcomers Xyza Gula, Cassie Carballo, Regina Jurado, Pierre Abellana, Pia Abbu, Jonna Perdido, who made waves during their preseason leagues in the V-League and Shakey’s Super League and had a training camp in Japan.
Laure is confident that last season’s collapse won’t happen again with the young guns proving they can carry UST’s flag this season.
“I think naman na hindi na magiging katulad ng last year, kasi pag nakita niyo lang sa mga bata, I think nakita niyo naman nung preseason leagues, kahit wala ako, minsan talaga napaisip ako, kailangan ba talaga akong bumalik? Pero siyempre, yung expression ko na yun ay sobrang proud lang talaga ako sa mga pinakita ng mga bata na lumalaban talaga sila,” said Laure.
(I think last year’s [collapse] won’t happen again. As you saw how my young teammates played well in the preseason even without me. Sometimes, it crossed my mind: do I still have to come back? But of course, it’s just an expression of how proud I am.)
Laure and the young Tigresses will be tested right away against the La Salle Lady Spikers on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“They are strong coming off a runner-up finish last year. They are tall, which is not new to La Salle. We will follow Coach KungFu (Reyes)’s game plan during training. Of course, we will show our character,” she said.