Since losing Milena Alessandrini for the season, the University of Santo Tomas have mostly turned into the Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure show.
The veteran-rookie tandem has scored in double-digits in all of the Tigresses’ matches without Alessandrini. Before Saturday, UST had mostly thrived on this setup, tallying a 6-4 record.
But UST have gotten sprinkles of contributions from other sources. Against a gritty University of the East side, UST received a boost from rookie Ysa Jimenez. The five-foot-nine winger from UE high school hopped off the bench and delivered 10 points, playing a key role in their straight-sets win. Previously, Jimenez tallied nine total points in her first 10 matches.
The Lady Warriors were coming off two five-setters. Having another player provide offense outside of Rondina and Laure was pivotal to UST’s triumph.
“Luckily, may panibagong player kami na nag-step-up sa team. So that’s the beauty of it – na may strong thirteen-woman lineup kami, na any moment pwede magpalit ng tao. And this time, si Ysa ‘yung nagpuno,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes.
“Nabi-build talaga ‘yung confidence niya sa training. Actually madami siyang overload na ginagawa, so ito na ang reward niya para sa sarili niya (Jimenez); sa resulta ng hard work na sinasabi ng lahat ng player,” the youth national team head coach added.
“So andiyan na Ysa, maging motivation iyan sa kanya na lahat ng pinaghihirapan may reward lagi; so there’s no such thing as a free lunch – kailangan niya talaga pagbayaran ang lahat.”
For her part, the produce of UE High School was glad she played a part in a convincing win over a tough opponent.
“Sabi nga ni coach, grabe nga talaga ‘yung every training na ino-overload ko, kasi kailangan ko i-overcome ‘yung mga… Para mataas pa ‘yung confidence ko and bigyan ko siya ng consistency,” the 5-foot-9 spiker said.
“Tsaka ‘yung hindi masira ‘yung binibigay na tiwala sa akin ni coach, and ‘yung mga chance na ganito, nabigyan ako ng opportunity to play ng ganoon. And gusto ko rin i-prove din na every time kailangan nila ako, nakakapag-contribute ako.”