UAAP: Laure touts UST culture as Tigresses step up for Hernandez

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 08 2022 01:04 PM | Updated as of May 08 2022 01:15 PM

UST captain Eya Laure (8) spikes against the UE Lady Warriors in their UAAP Season 84 first round game. UAAP Media
UST captain Eya Laure (8) spikes against the UE Lady Warriors in their UAAP Season 84 first round game. UAAP Media

MANILA, Philippines -- University of Santo Tomas (UST) captain Eya Laure commended her teammates for staying true to their culture and stepping up in the absence of their middle blocker, Imee Hernandez.

Hernandez suffered an ankle injury in their very first game of UAAP Season 84, a straight sets victory against Far Eastern University. She wound up missing their game against University of the East on Saturday night, but the Tigresses still had little trouble against the Lady Warriors.

Laure led the way with 18 points, Camille Victoria had 13, and middle blockers KC Galdones and Janine Balcorta combined for 10 points in a comprehensive 25-16, 25-22, 25-20 win for UST that hiked their record to 2-0 in the new season.

"Lagi naman, feeling ko nasa culture na din namin 'yun sa UST, na kapag may nai-injure, nandiyan 'yung bawat isa para back-up-an at mag-step up talaga, para makatulong din sa team," said Laure after their victory.

"For the past few seasons, 'yun 'yung mga nangyayari," she pointed out.

The injury bug had bitten UST in previous seasons. Notably, former Rookie of the Year Milena Alessandrini sustained a knee injury in the elimination round of Season 81 that kept her out for the rest of their campaign. When UST made the Finals that year, Laure herself suffered an ankle sprain in Game 2 of the series against the Ateneo Lady Eagles.

But Laure took pride in their "next man up" mentality, with Balcorta coming through with solid contributions against UE. Players like Ysa Jimenez and Ypril Tapia also stepped up to provide crucial points for the Tigresses.

"Si Tapia, malakas 'yung loob niyan," said Laure. "Siguro 'yung first game niya, na-shook siya. Sabi ko sa kanya sa dugout, kapag pinasok ka, gawin mo 'yung best mo. nandito kami at susuportahan ka namin, 'di ka namin pababayaan."

Hernandez, who was tipped for a breakout season after being called up to the national team in the offseason, is still recovering from her injury and UST head coach Kungfu Reyes is uncertain if she can play on Tuesday against the University of the Philippines.

"At least siguro mga 50% na makakalaro, pero I think 'yung, siguro baka maalalayan pa niya," said Reyes. "Hopefully, makabalik siya ng Tuesday."