MANILA, Philippines -- Eya Laure labored to one of the most inefficient performances of her young UAAP career on Sunday, as the celebrated University of Santo Tomas (UST) rookie struggled mightily in their game against De La Salle University.
It speaks to Laure's talent, skill and tenacity that she still finished with 20 points in what turned out to be a four-set loss for the Golden Tigresses. But the rookie was frustrated by La Salle's net defense all throughout the game, and gave away plenty of points with her attack errors.
She came into the match as the most efficient spiker in the league with a success rate of 38.4%. The La Salle defense forced her to go only 16-of-59 on attacks. A brutal stretch in the third set saw her commit four attack errors in the next 10 rallies.
"Madami, madami akong natutunan, na madami pa akong kakaining bigas talaga," said Laure, after an emotional post-game huddle with her UST teammates.
"Kailangan ko pa matutunan na i-compose din 'yung sarili ko," added the rookie, who was a picture of frustration in the third set before redeeming herself at the start of the fourth.
She helped the Golden Tigresses stay close with La Salle in the fourth frame, but ultimately, she also contributed to their downfall. Laure was rejected by Des Clemente to put the Lady Spikers at match point, and in the final rally, her attack hit the tape of the net.
"Hindi pa sapat 'yung mga natutunan ko sa first round or beginning ng second round," she admitted. "Madami pa, madami pa akong dapat na kainin na bigas, 'yun talaga ang point ko doon."
Laure revealed that doubt entered her mind in the third set, amidst a series of errors that saw her attacks hit the net, or go long. But she was thankful to her coaches for helping her keep her composure and confidence.
"Kumbaga 'yung doubt ko sa sarili ko, andoon, pero andoon 'yung coaches ko para i-stop 'yung pag-iisip ko, na huwag ganyan. Kailangan maniwala ka sa sarili mo," she said.
"Kaya noong fourth set, kung maririnig niyo lagi kong sinasabi sa buong team, hindi lang sa sarili ko na, 'tiwala sa sarili.' Kasi kahit papaano, nakaka-help siya i-boost 'yung confidence," Laure added.
UST head coach Kungfu Reyes was quick to absolve Laure from her subpar performance, pointing out that for all her miscues, Laure still gave them plenty of contributions on offense. Moreover, the rookie did so while playing with some pain in her hamstring.
"Sabi ko nga, inda mo na lang 'yan mamaya. 'Yun naman ang pinakita niya, 'yung character niya na being a fighter. I-score pero itatapon, i-score, tatapon pero kita mo ang decisiveness ng bata, 'yun naman ang hindi mo matatawaran," said Reyes.
"Hindi man ito ang A-game niya, umi-score siya, nagtatapon, pero kita mo naman yung contribution niya sa puntos. Eh paano kung nawala pa siya lalo, wala siyang 20 points?" he added.
"So bad game para sa kanya, but still, she had 20 points. 'Yung error na lang na naitapon niya, pwede namang itama sa mga susunod 'yun."
Reyes preached after the game that the Golden Tigresses must move on, and focus on their next games as the chase for spots in the Final 4 heats up. Laure echoed her coach's sentiments afterward, while also stressing the need for the entire UST team to step up.
"Kami naman hindi na kami nag-dwell sa nangyari sa game. Pero 'yun nga, kung makikita niyo, medyo emotional nga kami. Pero ngayon naman, standing strong pa rin," she said.
"Kami lang, more on motivation, more on gising, gisingin ang bawat isa, more on ipa-feel na wala talaga, walang nananalo na dalawa lang yung gumagawa. Kailangan talaga, as a team," the young spiker stressed.
UST will try to recover on April 6, when they take on University of the East.
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