Eya Laure delighted to go up against Jolina Dela Cruz in rookie showdown

While the matchup between the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses and the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers created buzz among the volleyball community, the game also saw a long-awaited duel between two super rookies from both sides.

UST’s Eya Laure and DLSU’s Jolina Dela Cruz have been making headlines in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, living up to expectations and displaying stellar games so far in the tournament.

As expected, many anticipated the eventual confrontation between the two of the best newcomers from Batch 81.

This face-off fueled España’s golden rookie Eya Laure to elevate her game against Jolina Dela Cruz and the rest of the Lady Spikers, as she powered her team to stun the three-time defending champions in straight sets, 25-20, 25-22, 25-17, yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Center.

The match ended up in a positive note for Laure who chipped in 15 points, helping team veteran Sisi Rondina who exploded with 19.

The rookie also showed amazing defense against the Lady Spikers as she registered 17 excellent digs with a staggering 85 percent efficiency.

In comparison, Dela Cruz tied with middle blockers Aduke Ogunsanya and Julia Ipac as they all scored eight points for the Lady Spikers, who suffered a bad game in general as they recorded their second straight loss in the tournament.

Amid expectations on their duel, Laure expressed her joy to see Dela Cruz at the other side of the net, as both players previously teamed up to represent the country in the 2017 ASEAN School Games.

“Sabi ko, basta kung saan ka mapunta, gusto kong kalaro kita. Natutuwa ako kasi nakakalaro ko siya and masaya naman ako for her sa kung anong nilalaro niya ngayon,” Laure said.

Meanwhile, Laure felt proud of her team as they stepped up big time to fill the absence of open spiker Milena Alessandrini, who sustained a partial ACL injury during their previous game against the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws.

“Nung nawala si Ate Amiga nung FEU, makikita niyo na sobrang blangko ‘yung mukha namin,” Laure said. “Nagulat kami–hindi namin alam kung anong nangyari, pero kinausap din kami ni Coach Kungfu na mag-move on tayo.”

She added that the victory proved to be an all-important boost going into their next games, much more because they won against heavy title favorites La Salle.

“Siyempre sa liga na ito, sila ‘yung defending champion, so isang malaking bagay na rin–hindi lang sa akin kundi sa buong team–na ma-boost ‘yung confidence namin na kaya din namin,” the rookie said.

Laure and the rest of the Golden Tigresses look to improve their rankings as they go up against the National University Lady Bulldogs on Saturday.

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