Ruthlaine Tacula has been on a tear lately for the University of the East, leading the Lady Warriors to the Final Four of the UAAP Season 78 women’s basketball tournament.
It was the first time UE had made it to the semi-finals in over a decade, and Tacula was motivated enough to lead her squad, saying they wanted to earn the respect of other teams.
“Ginawa naming motivation yung pinagtatawanan kami ng ibang teams last season. Nagtrabaho kami para ipakita sa kanila na kailangan nila kaming irespeto,” Tacula said after UE defeated the University of Santo Tomas, 68-53, on Sunday.
UE finished with a 7-7 record to claim the third seed in the stepladder semi-finals. Tacula averaged 20 PPG, 4 RPG, and 2.5 APG in the last two meetings of the Lady Warriors, which they both won.
Tacula shared how the Lady Warriors had approached practices towards the tail-end of the elimination round, being open to each other to foster an even better bond.
“Mindset namin talaga manalo talaga. Kapag natalo kami, mahihirapan pa kami. Pinagtrabahuhan talaga namin. Kinausap namin ang isa’t isa, nagbonding para makuha ang loob ng isa’t isa para buo kami sa laro. Ang basketball namin, hindi pwedeng ako lang or isang tao lang,” Tacula said.
“Practice pa lang, pumupukpok na kami. Kung may na-petiks, pinupush namin na magfocus. Bawat isa sa amin pinupukpok namin magtrabaho para maging malakas na team kami.”
UE is in its third year under head coach Aileen Lebornio, who reminded the Lady Warriors from the dawn of Season 78 to show a winning attitude.
Lebornio worked extremely hard to put up a team which can reach further heights, and all the effort paid off as UE made a breakthrough feat. UE only compiled a 5-23 record in the past two seasons, but the chemistry of the team showed this year.
“Masaya. Kasi nung first year naming magkakasama, kulelat kami. Sabi ni coach sa first year, nag-uumpisa pa lang kami. Sa second year, doon nagma-mature na kami so sa third year, wala nang rason para matalo pa kami,” Tacula added.
“Pinagtrabahuhan talaga namin ang laban na ito.”
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