Laure promotes UST culture while Tigresses rally behind Hernandez.

UST captain Eya Laure (8) spikes against the UE Lady Warriors in their UAAP Season 84 first round game. UAAP Media
UST captain Eya Laure (8) spikes against the UE Lady Warriors in their UAAP Season 84 first-round game.

Eya Laure, captain of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) volleyball team. Praised her teammates for remaining true to their culture. Stepping up in the absence of middle blocker Imee Hernandez.

Hernandez suffered an ankle injury in the opening match of the 84th UAAP season. A 3-0 victory over Far Eastern University. She missed Saturday night’s game versus the University of the East. But the Tigresses had little difficulty opposing the Lady Warriors.

Laure lead the way with 18 points, and Camille Victoria added 13. While middle blockers KC Galdones and Janine Balcorta combined for 10 points as UST improved to 2-0. The new season with a 25-16, 25-22, 25-20 victory.

Laure started after the team’s triumph. “It is ingrained in our culture at UST that when a player is injured. The other players expect to step up and serve as backups to help the team.”

“The past few seasons, these events have occurred,” she noted.

Injuries in prior seasons had plagued UST. Notably, former Rookie of the Year Milena Alessandrini experienced a knee injury in the elimination round of Season 81. Also, preventing her from playing for the remainder of the team’s season. Laure herself sustained an ankle sprain in Game 2 of the series against the Ateneo Lady Eagles as UST reached the Finals that season.

However, Laure was proud of their “next man up” approach, as Balcorta made significant contributions against UE. Players such as Ysa Jimenez and Ypril Tapia contributed critical points for the Tigresses.

Laure remarked, “Si Tapia, that’s a hefty bag.” “Surely, his first game left him shaken. I told him in the dugout that he should do his best when he retires. We will support you anytime, di ka namin pababayaan.”

Hernandez, predicts a breakout season after call up to the national team in the offseason. Is still recovering from her injury, and UST head coach Kungfu Reyes is unsure if she will be able to play against the University of the Philippines on Tuesday.

Reyes says, “It’s likely that at least fifty percent of the population will be affected, but he may still be affected.” Hopefully, he will return on Tuesday.

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