MANILA, Philippines—The Ateneo Lady Eagles offered a prayer for Eya Laure after the prolific University of Santo Tomas rookie suffered an ankle injury in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball finals on Wednesday.
Laure went up to block Kat Tolentino in the first rally of the third set, and landed badly as her left ankle twisted. She had to be carried off the court by her father, Eddie, and was in tears as they headed to the dugout.
"It's never nice to see any player go down na may injury, kasi a bunch of us have been injured din," said Ateneo's Maddie Madayag, who suffered an ACL injury as a sophomore in Season 78. "So we know the feeling."
Ateneo captain Bea de Leon was among those who rushed to Laure's side after she fell, and led the Lady Eagles in a quick prayer. Later, head coach Oliver Almadro said their team also prayed for Laure in their post-game huddle.
"Dito sa huddle namin, we prayed for her, na hindi grabe," he said. "Of course, mas maganda pa rin 'yung walang nasasaktan."
Laure's injury was mild, and she even returned late in Set 3. But the rookie was clearly a shadow of her usual explosive self. Lacking her usual lift, Laure committed an attack error immediately upon her return to the game. She was also repeatedly targeted by the Lady Eagles in their serves in the fourth set.
The rookie could not help but cry when she was eventually subbed out late in the fourth set, when the game was out of reach for the Tigresses.
Though they sympathized with Laure, the Lady Eagles also knew that they needed to focus on their own performances. Ateneo had entered the match with their backs against the wall, having lost the first game of the series in straight sets.
"We're in the finals," said Madayag. "Di na natin pwede isali 'yung emotions na ganyan, na naano si Eya. So we just focused on ourselves, as a team, and what we're gonna do."
Atene wound up winning in four sets, 25-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15, to send the series to a deciding Game 3 on Saturday.
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