Rookie Eya Laure burst into tears when University of Sto. Tomas head coach Kungfu Reyes subbed her out in the fourth set with Game 2 of the best-of-three UAAP Season 81 women’s Finals series already out of hand.
The Tigresses were already buried by 10 points and Ateneo de Manila University was just two points away from sealing the match.
Reyes, with concern in his eyes, decided to call it a night for Laure, his prized recruit who played through pain from a left ankle sprain early in the third set.
“Noong nilabas ako kanina, hindi ako makapaniwala na nilalabas ako kasi sabi ko sa sarili ko kahit anong mangyari sa championship na ‘to gagawin ko talaga lahat. And noong kine-carry ako ni Daddy, sinasabi ko kay Daddy na babalik ako,” said Laure, who scored 10 points in the Tigresses’ 24-26, 25-14, 21-25, 15-25, loss to the Lady Eagles on Wednesday that forced a series decider at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Laure hurt her ankle after a bad landing at the start at the third set with the match tied at 1-1. She was carried off court with the help of her father, former professional basketball player Eddie, back to their dugout but the Rookie of the Year winner insisted and returned to action later in that frame.
She was able to get back on the game but played with a diminished explosiveness.
“Pinilit ko talaga na bumalik pero wala eh, kumapos din talaga. Ginawa na lahat ng pwedeng gawin sa akin pero wala, masakit nga,” she said. “Sa susunod naman maasahan niyo, magpapagaling ako para sa Game 3.”
Laure vowed to get back stronger in the winner-take-all.
“Maraming nagmo-motivate sa akin na pagsubok lang ‘to na hindi dito natatapos eh. Kaya nga may Game 3 pa ‘di ba?” she said defiantly. “Para sa akin, pagsubok lang ‘to na dapat lagpasan para manalo, pagsubok lang ‘to na dapat malagpasan para makamit ‘yung gusto mong makuha and for me naman babangon at babangon talaga kami and hindi ako susuko ng ganun-ganon lang.”
For now, Laure, who was able to walk without help but had her left ankle wrapped in tape with a splint, will rest her battle wounds and prepare for the ultimate encounter.
“Ngayon, masakit talaga siya iyeyelo ko na lang siya,” she said.
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