Pam Lastimosa gives UST a lift in her return
by rick olivares
“And the team captain…. Pam Lastimosa”.
It has been nearly a year since Lastimosa went down with a knee injury that hurt the UST Golden Tigresses for that UAAP volleyball season. While Cherry Rondina picked up the scoring slack, there was still a void. Even EJ Laure who stepped into the breach as captain couldn’t fill it.
That’s in the past. There’s genuine excitement now emanating from España. This UST team can go 12 deep.
Against a better Philippine Coast Guard side that rebounded from its miserable Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference debut, UST looked good although was a little shaky in the first set. But the Tigresses found their verve and held fast. PCG’s renewed assault in the third set was still faced by a determined UST side with Lastimosa leading the way.
Following the match that ended in a three-set sweep for UST that climbed to 2-0, head coach Kungfu Reyes paid tribute to Lastimosa who was adjudged player of the game. Only EJ Laure scored in double figures with 12. Lastimosa and sophomore Carla Sandoval, who had a terrific game versus Philippine Air Force last week, each added seven points.
“Pam was far from 100%,” underscored Reyes who is in his second year coaching the women’s team. “Maybe 60-70% but her presence on the court helped the team more so when some players weren’t at their best.”
Lastimosa was relieved her return to competitive volleyball worked out fine. “It feels great to be back,” she waxed ecstatic. “Excited ako maglaro after so many months of inactivity. And panalo kami sa first game ko so it’s all good. It’s a good feeling.”
Staying away from the game and her team gave her a different perspective and appreciation for everything.
“Right now? I’d say nasa 50-60% ako physically kasi kailangan magpa-kundisyon,” she graded herself. “Being away from the game gave me greater motivation to come back, be faithful to my rehabilitation, and give what the team needs. We have Cherry (Rondina) and now Carla (Sandoval) helping out EJ (Laure) in the scoring. It’s no longer about scoring a lot of points. Maybe there will be days when I might do that. I want to end my last playing year on a good note.”
In the match versus Coast Guard, Pam dove for balls and generally played hard earning a thumbs up from her coach. “Hindi ko iniisip injury ko. Stepping onto the court, bigay ko lang ang best. If you think about the injury, you’ll be tentative. I cannot afford to be tentative.”
Knowing that UST has a very good team this coming UAAP added to Pam’s excitement. “Sobrang nakikita ko sa team na malaki ang chance namin to make the Final Four. It’s all potential now so we have to work hard to make this happen,” thought the Golden Tigresses captain. “Goal ko mag-Final Four. Then let’s see where we go from there. I am just happy to be back.”