Recovering Pam Lastimosa to return as UST captain in Season 79

The captain is back.

Though only deeming herself 70% of her top form. UST’s Pam Lastimosa gladly told FOX Sports that she has been cleared by her doctors to return to training 8 months after her unfortunate ACL tear incident.

Leading the Tigresses during Saturday’s ‘Olympic-style opening’ at the UST grounds, the wing spiker made the event her official return to the fold looking healthy and ready to give the college wars one last hurrah.

“Bumalik ako mga 2 weeks ago. ‘Yung first training kinakabahan pa ako. Hindi pa maalis ‘yung takot especially pag tatalon,” said the Cagayan de Oro native. “Pero as days go by, mas naging confident ako sa sarili ko. Tina-try ko lang na maging strong. Hopefully makabalik na talaga ng 100%.”

Taking the reins from Season 78 captain EJ Laure, Lastimosa, who led the España crew in Season 77, will once again play the role as UST skipper while fellow veteran Ria Meneses will serve as her co-captain.

“Fortunate ako na ako pa din ang pinagkakatiwalaan ni coach. No pressure lang,” she shared.

Without her services, UST’s 2016 campaigns have been disappointing as the squad finished outside the semis in both the UAAP and the Shakey’s V-League.

While its high school stars Eya Laure and Maji Mangulabnan showed flashes of brilliance, the absence of veterans EJ Laure, Sisi Rondina, Chloe Cortez and Alex Cabaños, who all played for teams in the PSL, proved to be a hurdle too much for the Tigresses to handle, finishing in sixth place in the ongoing V-League Collegiate Conference.

In hindsight, however, all this will benefit the Tigresses in the long run, says the leader of the pack.

“I think playing for different teams is beneficial for the player and the team naman,” said Lastimosa, shrugging off UST’s first-ever non-semis finish in the V-League.

“For experience kasi ‘yun kaya pinapayagan sila ng UST and nila coach. Higher level ‘yung volleyball sa PSL. Sana ma-apply nila ‘yung mga natutunan nila sa team namin sa Season 79, she added.

Having 4 full months to return to her fighting form, Lastimosa’s deadly crosscourt hits and leadership will be vital in UST’s bid to end the dark days in the women’s volleyball division come 2017.

“I’m confident naman sa team ko ngayon. Pinag-uusapan na rin namin na this is our year sana na mabalik muna sa Final Four. ‘Yun muna ang goal talaga namin and hopefully, mag championship,” said the captain.

On a personal level, however, Lastimosa can only promise nothing but hard work.

“I’m working hard to be back. No promises pero we will try our best to make it to the top four,” she said, capping the interview before joining her teammates in having fun and taking in the moment of her last year with the black, gold, and white. — By Mac Dionisio