UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas coach Kungfu Reyes trusts skipper EJ Laure enough to expect her to bounce back from her flat start in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
UST lost its first two games of the season - a five-setter thriller to Adamson, 22-25, 21-25, 25-20, 30-28, 14-16, and then a four-set defeat to two-time defending champion Ateneo, 22-25, 20-25, 25-21, 15-25.
In their season opener against Adamson, the sophomore open spiker registered 15 points, just half of unheralded hitter Cherry “Sisi” Rondina’s 30 markers, and only managed 10 points compared to Rondina's 21 in their loss to the Lady Eadgles.
Reyes expressed his dissatisfaction with Laure’s performance, but maintained his hopes that it won't stay this way for long.
“Sa ngayon dehins pa, below average (ang pinapakita) ni EJ ngayon eh. Tumitibay sa paluan pero ‘yung consistency pa rin ang hinahanap namin eh wala. Buti nandyan si Sisi,” said Reyes.
“Well she’s trying, si EJ, sa ensayo okay naman, nagpupursige naman, (pero) hindi pa nagsasabay-sabay,” he added.
Reyes remains patient with Laure as he knows what his ward is capable off. After all, he was Laure’s mentor when she steered the Junior Tigresses to the UAAP championship in 2014 to end the school's three-year title drought.
But the 35-year old mentor asserted that for Laure to finally start clicking, the 18-year-old team captain needs to play with more consistency and stronger leadership.
“Kulang pa ni EJ consistency, leadership konti pa,” he said. “Pero ‘yung nilalaro niya first two games is hindi niya pa nakukuha ‘yung dapat niyang makuha.”
“Sabi ko nga maaga pa pero baka pagdating sa dulo maaga pa rin. Sabi ko nga sana hindi naman kami ma-late,” he added in jest.
UST, which is currently tied with University of the East at the bottom (0-2), will face Far Eastern University (1-2) on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.