When University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigress Sai Larosa last played in UAAP Season 80, it was in the post-season clash against the University of the East Lady Warriors for a ticket to face defending champions National University Lady Bulldogs.
With just four seconds left on the clock and down 62-68, Larosa threw a punch at UE’s Love Sto. Domingo which not only gave the Growling Tigresses a bitter end to their campaign but also almost resulted to a melee between the two squads.
Larosa, who averaged 11.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks that season, forfeited her place in the Mythical Five and incurred a one-game suspension in Season 81 as per the league rules.
The fifth-year student-athlete narrated that Haydee Ong, her coach, told her to apologize to UST’s former athletics director Fr. Ermito De Sagun after the incident. She added, “Natutunan ko na i-control ang emotions ko on and off the court na hindi lahat (kailangan) pairalin ko yung emotions ko kasi pwede siya makasama which is yun ang nangyari sa team namin.
“(With) what happened last season, siyempre I have learned a lot. Nag-improve ako, sobra. Ginamit ko yung pangyayari bilang positive na I still have one more year. Kaya ko patunayan sa mga tanong nag-doubt sa akin, sa team namin na kaya namin umabot ng finals.”
Thankfully for Larosa, she still had time at her side. In her first game back for UST, she tallied a whopping 28 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, and five steals in UST’s 129-42 win over the UP Lady Maroons. She then followed it up with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists as UST prevailed 85-55 at the Adamson Lady Falcons’ expense.
“Last year ko na so (dapat) all out. Hindi na kailangan magtira ng kahit ano pa. Give lang ang lahat na kaya ibigay para sa team para maging fair din ako sa teammates ko at sa coaches ko,” shared the Sports and Wellness Management student.
The Sorsogon National High School alumna is one of the leaders of her team alongside Tin Capilit and Clarice Aujero. She said that her team is an easy one to manage because of the team having one goal: To win the tiara.
When everything’s said and done, though, Larosa seeks what would be a stellar and redemptive end to her UAAP career with UST – a championship. The Growling Tigresses’ early season form has made observers tip them as one of the Lady Bulldogs’ challengers this season.
“Siyempre yung goal namin… lahat naman ng teams gusto manalo eh. Lahat naman ng teams gusto mag-champion. Kung sino lang ang pinaka mag-work hard, yun ang matitira. Feel ko kami ngayon. Hindi na ako paligoy-ligoy,” she vowed.
“Last year ko na so dadalhin namin hanggang kaya sa taas, hanggang sa finals.”