[Editor's note: This is the sixth of our eight-part preview of the coming UAAP Season 82 women's volleyball tournament]
Last Season: 2nd Place (10-4)
Key Holdovers: Eya Laure, Alina Bicar, Caitlyn Viray, KC Galdones, Ysa Jimenez
Returnees: EJ Laure, Tin Francisco
Newcomers: Imee Hernandez, Janna Torres
Departures: Sisi Rondina, Rica Rivera, Dimdim Pacres
Injury list: Milena Alessandrini (knee injury)
Head Coach: Kungfu Reyes (sixth season)
COMING off a bridesmaid finish, University of Santo Tomas is ready to try again.
UST coach Kungfu Reyes says the team has moved on from its heartbreaking campaign last season and considers the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament as a new opportunity.
From living up to #KamiNaman in Season 81, #SusubokUlit will be the Tigresses’ battlecry as they aim to rise to the top this time.
“‘Di naman kami tumigil na mag-try. Sabi nga nila, try and try until you succeed, until you die,” said Reyes.
“Susubok ulit kami. Susubukan namin na ulitin, i-duplicate ‘yung mga nagawa namin lahat ng mga natutunan na namin noong finals. This season susubok ulit kami.”
It will be a new-look UST offense, however, with Alina Bicar and last year’s Rookie of the Year Eya Laure now leading the charge after the exit of former leader Sisi Rondina.
“Wala namang pwedeng pumalit kay Sisi, pero ‘yung spot na pwedeng mag-take over, kung sino namang mag-a-act as a leader, marami namang kaming mga seniors dito, sina Alina,” said Reyes.
Only in her second year with the Tigresses, Laure is given a huge task and she is confident she can deliver.
“‘Yung time na sinabi ko ‘yun kay Ate Sisi, nandoon ‘yung fire na next season babawi kami,” said Laure. “Gagawin namin lahat kahit anong mangyari.”
“‘Yung hindi namin nakuha last year susubukan ulit namin makuha sa season na ‘to. Magiging motivation din siya sa amin kasi ang laking tulong din ng ginawa ni Ate Sisi na kung pano kami ngayon lumaban sa loob ng court, ‘yung mindset kung pano bumalik sa bawat dapa last season. Isang malaling bagay siya na pwede mo gamitin this season,” she added.
Helping Eya in leading the Tigresses is her elder sister EJ, who is set to make a UAAP comeback after a two-year layoff.
Bicar believes that with the right mindset and attitude, they have a chance to contend again.
“Kailangan namin lumaban para sumubok kami ulit at dapat andoon din yung tapang at yung eagerness namin manalo every game,” said Bicar. “Simulan muna sa umpisa para manalo nang manalo at mapunta sa taas kasi lahat naman gusto umakyat.”