MANILA, Philippines – Marist Layug received some of the loudest cheers of the afternoon when University of the Philippines played University of Santo Tomas on Sunday in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament.
It wasn't because the veteran middle blocker had herself a breakout game, or scored the winning point for the Lady Maroons. Layug only had six points, and UST actually handed UP its first loss of the tournament as they claimed a four-set win.
Yet the UP crowd at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan still showed its support for Layug, who had labored at the service line in the first two sets of the game. The senior committed errors in her first five attempts at the line, either sending her serve to the net, or long.
At one point, Layug crouched down at the reserve box after committing another service error, even as her teammates tried to lift her spirits.
"Na-disappoint ako sa sarili ko," Layug would say after the game. "Kasi siyempre, team ko din ang maapektuhan dahil sa service error ko."
When Layug finally got a good serve in, during the third set, the UP fans gave her a massive ovation.
For Layug, to have the support of the UP crowd – even after she committed error after error – was a big deal.
"Siyempre super happy ako, parang doon ako nabuhayan. Siyempre lagi silang andyan for me and for the team," said Layug.
"Sila ang ginawa kong inspiration na kailangan kong galingan, kailangan kong ayusin, para sa kanila. Para sa UP community," she added.
Layug admits that she was somewhat rattled at the service line, especially after seeing her first attempt of the game go straight to the net.
"First service ko is error, so parang nagpatong-patong na siya," she said.
But the UP crowd kept cheering her on through every error, even after she sent her fifth serve sailing out of bounds and gave another free point to the Tigresses.
"Super laking tulong nila sa akin," Layug said. "Sila ang naging inspiration ko and sila rin ang nakaka-boost ng morale ko."
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.