UAAP: 'Support system' starting to find its footing for UST

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2022 07:02 PM

Imee Hernandez (5) was among those who stepped up for UST in their UAAP Season 84 first round match against the Ateneo Blue Eagles. UAAP Media.
Imee Hernandez (5) was among those who stepped up for UST in their UAAP Season 84 first round match against the Ateneo Blue Eagles. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- Eya Laure continues to be the heart and soul of University of Santo Tomas (UST) but head coach Kungfu Reyes believes that her "support system" is slowly but surely learning to step up as well.

Laure emerged as the leading scorer after the first round of the UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball tournament, having already scored a whopping 160 points.

That includes 28-point performances against University of the Philippines (UP) and De La Salle University, and a 31-point explosion against defending champion Ateneo de Manila University last Thursday in a four-set triumph. Laure, named captain of the Golden Tigresses in her third season, had 30 kills in a 25-19, 25-21, 29-31, 33-31 triumph

Yet for Reyes, what was crucial to their win was the contributions of their "support system."

"Thirty-one points is nothing kung the rest is naka-asa lang or nakababa sa kanya," said Reyes. "Hindi niya kaya kaming buhatin all throughout the game."

"Otherwise, bibigay at bibigay din 'to. Tao lang din na napapagod," he added.

Reyes has already called out Laure's supporting cast once in Season 84, when the open hitter fired 28 points against UP only for the Tigresses to absorb a 21-25, 25-23, 21-25, 22-25 defeat. Laure was their only player in double-digits in that game, while veterans Ysa Jimenez and KC Galdones combined for four points.

"'Yung support system ang medyo nawala. Actually, hindi medyo nawala, nawala talaga for today's game," Reyes said at the time.

There was no such concern for the coach against the Blue Eagles. Three other players reached double-digits for UST, led by Imee Hernandez with 14 points. Galdones added 12, and rookie Ypril Tapia scored 11.

"Andiyan naman 'yung support system," Reyes said. "Buong-buo 'yun, 'yung teamwork, 'yung collective effort from defense to offense, from offense to defense, so nag-materialize."

It helps that Hernandez is fit again after suffering an ankle injury in their first game of the season. The middle blocker was expected to be a major contributor for UST this season, but had to sit out three matches to recover.

After single-digit performances in games against National University and Adamson University, Hernandez came through against Ateneo as she converted 13 of 20 attacks while adding a kill block.

"Meron pa pong kaunting [pain], pero tolerable naman na po," Hernandez said after their win over the Blue Eagles. "Nakakagalaw na po ako. At andiyan naman po sila Ate Eya para i-remind ako from time to time, pati po sila coach, kung ano po ang dapat kong gawin."

UST currently sits at joint second along with La Salle, with both teams having a 5-2 win-loss record. They return from a one-week break on Thursday against Adamson, with Reyes hoping that their supporting cast will build on how they performed against Ateneo.