MANILA, Philippines—They were two sets away from winning the UAAP title on Wednesday, when rookie of the year Eya Laure fell badly and was carried out of the court.
University of Santo Tomas then crumbled en route to losing Game 2.
Three days after, the Golden Tigresses faced the Ateneo Lady Eagles one last time in the finals, but found themselves on the losing end, surrendering the season in straight sets 25-17, 25-22, 25-22
The Tigresses were far from their dominant selves in Game 1 when they swept the Lady Eagles, their first win against the Katipunan team in the past 16 outings dating back UAAP Season 74.
Laure could not hide her feelings of regret not closing the series in Game 2, but shared that they received a motivational message from head coach Kungfu Reyes.
“Three sets na lang, 75 points . . . 75 points kailangan pero wala, kinapos din talaga,” Laure said after Game 3. “[Pero] sabi nga ni coach, minotivate na lang kami na ’yung kabilang team nga wala masyadong rookie tapos kami puro rookie. Malaking bagay na ’yun na wow na karamihan sa amin puro rookies.”
Laure also downplayed her injury this series, stressing that she did not want to leave her teammates out in the cold.
“Kumbaga kahit may iniinda ako gusto ko makipaglaban, kasama pa rin ako kaya nu’ng time na ’yun, may ginagawa silang pagyeyelo, gusto ko nang bumalik,” Laure recalled of her bad fall in Game 2.
The first-year player said she didn’t want to be a burden to her team in Game 3.
“Ayoko magpabigat, as much as possible nakakatulong ako parang kumbaga ayoko ’yung ako yung binubuhat,” Laure said. “Gusto ko nakakatulong ako sa kanila sa pagkatao, sa paglabas ng best nila, para magkaroon ng magandang laro.”
Laure then reminisced how the number of fans watching in the arena grew every game this season. Upon entering the collegiate ranks, she just wished to see a venue filled with UST fans.
“ ’Yun lang ’yung pinangarap ko noon, walang place, walang ano, basta ’yung suporta ng UST community kasi ’yun ’yung medyo nawala nu’n,” Laure said. “ ’Yun ’‘yung pinangarap ko na sana bumalik sila and sobrang taba ng puso naming lahat kasi bumalik nga sila at nagtiwala.”
Laure is expected to be reunited with her sister EJ in Season 82 along with the possible return of Milena Alessandrini and Tin Francisco.
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