UAAP: Eya Laure determined to end UST’s title drought
MANILA, Philippines—After emerging as the league’s top scorer for the second straight year, Eya Laure is not thinking of any individual awards as all she wants is to bring back the crown to University of Santo Tomas this UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.
The UST team captain finished with a season-best 268 points in her team’s 10-4 finish in the elimination round, making a strong case as an MVP candidate as she also excelled in other skills departments.
But for Laure, the main goal is ending the 13-year title drought of the Tigresses.
“Hindi ko iniisip. Ang mas gusto ko talaga yung maka appear sa championship podium. Syempre nasa senior year na rin ako, so dun yung attention ko ngayon,” said Laure after pouring 28 points in UST’s 25-21, 25-20, 22-25, 19-25, 15-6 win over University of the Philippines on Sunday.
(I’m not thinking about any individual awards. What I really want more is to be on the championship podium. I’m in my senior year so all my attention is on winning the title.)
But for Laure to reach that goal, the star wing spiker, who reached the Finals during her rookie year in 2019 with Sisi Rondina but lost the Season 81 title to Ateneo in Game 3, has to overcome a tall order in the Final Four.
The Tigresses battle the top-seeded and twice-to-beat De La Salle Lady Spikers on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Of course, La Salle is La Salle. They have a strong system but we will show and prove UST’s system,” said Laure in Filipino. “UST and La Salle have been rivals even before. So we’re motivated because they are all good. We will treat all their players with respect.”
In her rookie year, Laure joined hands with Rondina to shatter the ‘four-peat’ bid of La Salle by beating them in the playoff for the twice-to-beat edge and winning the first game of the Final Four to book a Finals ticket.
This time, the tables have turned as the Lady Spikers, led by rookie sensation Angel Canino, hold the incentive against the Tigresses.
Laure believes in her young team composed of Regina Jurado, Cassie Carballo, Imee Hernandez, and Detdet Pepito, who have been instrumental in the elimination round, where they beat La Salle in the second round.
UST bench players also proved they are ready to rise to the occasion as Renee Penafiel stepped up for Milena Alessandrini, who didn’t play due to recurring knee pain, and backup libero Xyza Gula filled in the void left by Pepito, who was dealing with a bum stomach.
“I think their extended playing time today will be a big boost to their confidence and rhythm,” Laure said. “They embraced their roles and accepted the challenge.”