MANILA, Philippines -- Eya Laure was unaware that she had recorded a new career-high effort on Thursday, after leading University of Santo Tomas (UST) to a hard-earned triumph against Ateneo de Manila University.
Laure had 31 points in an exhausting 25-19, 25-21, 29-31, 33-31 win against the Blue Eagles, including the match-winner that ended matters after two hours and 28 minutes.
It was another tremendous performance for Laure in UAAP Season 84, in a tournament that has already seen her score 28 points twice and tow the Golden Tigresses to victory in two five-set affairs.
For her coach, however, her outing against Ateneo was notable because of how Laure recovered from uncharacteristic errors.
"Coming from consecutive errors na siyempre, uncharacteristic para sa kanya, pero lumalabas ulit 'yung kung ano siya, kung ano 'yung natural niya, na nilalaban 'yung puntos por puntos," said UST coach Kungfu Reyes.
Reyes was referring to Laure's miscues in the nip-and-tuck third set, where she sent a down-the-line hit wide to give Ateneo a 27-26 lead. After a service error by Erika Raagas kept UST in the set, Laure committed a service error that gave the Blue Eagles another match point. They went on to win the set, 31-29, as the Tigresses committed a whopping 14 unforced errors in the frame.
"Ang dami ko pong errors," was how Laure responded when asked for her thoughts on resetting her career-high.
"'Yun lang naman din 'yung sa akin. Sa dami ng error na binigay ko sa game na 'to, andiyan sila coach na hindi talaga din ako binitawan," she said. "Kasi minsan, sumasagi man sa isip ko na nagda-doubt ako sa sarili ko, pero andiyan si Coach Kungfu na ipaalala sa akin na bumawi kaagad, kalimutan na 'yun, at magtiwala sa sarili."
She lived up to Reyes' expectations in the fourth frame. With UST at match point, 32-31, the Tigresses went to their No. 1 option and Laure didn't let them down, smartly firing a hit off the Ateneo blockers to secure the win.
Reyes was pleased to see his star spiker make the correct adjustment, after costly attack errors in the previous frame.
"Lahat naman ng inatake niya, talagang deliberate 'yung atake niya," the coach noted. "Kaya lang, sa sobrang gustong pumuntos, nagkakaroon na ng room for error na talagang lumalayo, na pinipilit niyang ilihis sa blocker."
"So again, 'yung adjustment na maibigay namin sa kanya during training ng mga coaches, ano naman, pagdating sa dulo, lumalabas ulit. 'Yun ang pinaka-importante doon," he added. "Kung magkamali ka, kung paano ka bumawi, doon kami nagre-rely talaga."
Laure will finish the first round of UAAP Season 84 as the league's leading scorer, having already tallied 160 points through seven matches.