UAAP: 5-setters good for development of UST rookies, says coach

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2022 03:17 PM

UAAP Media.
UST's Tin Ecalla in action against Adamson in their UAAP Season 84 first round match. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- University of Santo Tomas (UST) improved to 2-0 in five-set matches on Tuesday, after outlasting Adamson University in a back-and-forth affair that lasted over two hours at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Team captain Eya Laure delivered once again but the Golden Tigresses also got some crucial contributions from the likes of Ysa Jimenez, Ypril Tapia, and Tin Ecalla in their hard-earned 12-25, 25-19, 25-22, 18-25, 15-9 triumph.

For UST head coach Kungfu Reyes, their five-set matches in UAAP Season 84 -- while grueling -- should also be good for the development of the squad, particularly their rookies.

Tapia and Ecalla, playing in the UAAP seniors for the first time, can only improve as they keep playing in high-stakes situations, the coach said.

"[It's a] good development, in terms of experience," said Reyes. "Ang pinaka-importante is maging lesson learned. Experience na again, 'yung real time na sila mismo ang nagta-trabaho sa loob."

"Especially kay Ecalla din, 'yung crunch time, 'yung pressure as a rookie, maglaro ka ng fifth-setter, tapos ikaw 'yung nakataya," he added. "Malaking bagay para sa amin, same with Tapia."

Players like Laure, Jimenez, and middle blockers Imee Hernandez and KC Galdones are already well-versed in pressure-packed situations. Laure, in particular, has been superb as UST's No. 1 option in Season 84.

In their first five-set match of the tournament, she delivered the final four points as the Tigresses turned back De La Salle University last May 12, 26-24, 22-25, 25-27, 25-23, 15-12. 

Against Adamson, the Tigresses got solid contributions from Tapia, who was steady at the service line in the fifth set to help UST build a lead. Ecalla also registered a crucial block when the Lady Falcons threatened midway through the frame.

"'Yung dalawang rookie namin, andoon sa loob, eh malaking bagay. Kasi nga, nape-perform nila 'yung kung anong meron sila, 'yung best ng ability to perform in the highest level. So malaking bagay para sa amin," said Reyes.

Tapia finished with 11 points in the match, while Ecalla had seven markers while getting a short stint as the team's setter towards the end of the fourth set.

UST improved to 4-2 with the result, putting them in a tie with La Salle for second place in the league standings. They are back in action on Thursday, taking on Ateneo de Manila University in a rematch of the UAAP Season 81 Finals. 

"Talagang bugbugan," Reyes said of their five-set wars this season. "Ang pagalingan lang dito, kung paano ka magre-recover. Isang araw na pahinga, less than 48 hours, maglalaro ka na ulit. So kailangan dito 'yung talagang disiplina."