'Sisi 2.0': Coach heaps praise on UST rookie Tapia after stepping up vs. La Salle

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2022 06:18 AM

UST rookie Ypril Tapia looks to score against La Salle in their UAAP Season 84 first round match-up. UAAP Media.
UST rookie Ypril Tapia looks to score against La Salle in their UAAP Season 84 first round match-up. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- Just four games into her UAAP career, Ypril Tapia is already reminding her coach of a University of Santo Tomas (UST) legend.

UST coach Kungfu Reyes believes he has a diamond in the rough in the 20-year-old rookie, who stands at just 5-foot-4 but has so far showcased tremendous leaping ability, stable defense, and a strong work ethic. 

"Maganda 'yung performance niya tonight," Reyes said of Tapia, who scored four points in the Golden Tigresses' five-set comeback against De La Salle University last Thursday.

Tapia came off the bench in the final four sets, produced a crucial off-the-block hit in the fifth, and was steady at the service line as UST won eight of the last nine rallies of the match to snatch a 26-24, 22-25, 25-27, 25-23, 15-12 victory.

"Ganoon din siya mag-ensayo. All out din talaga 'yung bata," Reyes said of the rookie out of the First City Providential College. "Alam niya na 'di siya ganoon katangkaran, kaya talaga 'yung sipag, 'yung leaping ability niya, andoon."

"Ang pinaka 'di mo matatawaran sa kanya is 'yung fighting spirit niya," the coach continued. "Kung gaano siya kaliit, ganoon naman kalaki ang puso niya. 'Yun ang pinaka importante, 'yun ang mas dinedevelop natin mga player."

Those characteristics should sound familiar to UST fans, and indeed, team captain Eya Laure said out loud the comparison that was on her and her coach's minds: "Sisi Rondina 2.0."

Rondina, of course, is a legend in UST. She won Most Valuable Player honors in Season 81, where she also led the Tigresses to a finals appearance. 

Remarkably, Reyes believes Tapia can exceed Rondina's considerable achievements with the black and gold.

"Hopefully, malagpasan niya pa. Iba 'yung talent nitong bata na 'to," Reyes said. "Second year niya sa college, first year niya sa UAAP. Malaki 'yung potential na magle-level up pa 'yung laro niya."