UAAP: UST Tigresses keen on proving themselves sans Eya Laure
MANILA, Philippines — The young University of Santo Tomas Tigresses are eager to prove that they can reach greater heights even in the post-Eya Laure era starting on Saturday in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.
Libero Detdet Pepito admitted that it’s hard to fill in the big hole left by Laure, who led UST to a finals appearance in 2019 followed by back-to-back Final Four stints in the past two years.
“Since we’re a rebuilding team this is new to us because almost everyone from our team is new. It’s hard to lose ate Eya as a leader and as a senior,” Pepito told reporters in Filipino.
Pepito believes that their roster last year had a chance to go all the way to the top with Laure having Milena Alessandrini and Imee Hernandez as well as talented youngsters Cassie Carballo and Regina Jurado but they settled for fourth place after losing to top seed and eventual champion La Salle, led by rookie MVP Angel Canino, in the Final Four.
“When you look at our players last season, we got everything with Ate Eya, Ate Milena, and Ate Imee. I felt during that time that we were really strong. Parang sayang last season,” the UST captain said.
Although they couldn’t get over the hump in Season 85, the new era of Tigresses are determined to prove themselves.
“This season, we’re hungrier because we regret the previous season. We’re even more motivated,” said Pepito.
“So far from our previous league, which is Shakey’s Super League where we got bronze and silver, we were ok since we performed well without expectations and pressure. We saw that we can [win games] even without ate Eya.”
For Jurado, who will be one of the focal points of UST’s offense, their group with rookie Angeline Poyos and holdover Jonna Perdido are eager to do their best by playing their game and thriving under the system of longtime coach KungFu Reyes.
“We want to prove something and go far,” said Jurado, who had an impressive rookie season.
“People come and people go. All we have to do is adjust and train, cooperate with the new members and rebuild the team. We won’t start from scratch because we were able to reach [the podium in our previous leagues]. We just have to be consistent and keep on improving,” she added