MANILA, Philippines – Even before the start of the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament, University of Santo Tomas' campaign already received a big blow when it was announced that top hitter EJ Laure would miss the season.
A "chronic shoulder injury" would keep Laure from suiting up for UST in Season 80 in what would have been her fourth playing year.
But the vague reason – it was never bared exactly what injury Laure suffered – fueled speculation among fans. Some asked if the injury was legitimate, as Laure had played in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix shortly before the announcement was made.
Others asked if academics were the problem. A quick check on social media also revealed that there are fans who are openly wondering if Laure will miss the season because she is supposedly pregnant.
Laure was not around when reporters visited the UST Golden Tigresses' practice on Tuesday evening, but head coach Kungfu Reyes willingly offered a clarification on behalf of his star player.
"'Yung huling-huling usap namin, noong December nga, 'yung shoulder niya," Reyes said when asked to clarify, once and for all, why Laure will sit out Season 80.
"Ang term na ginamit is chronic shoulder injury. Hanggang doon lang kami," he added.
Reyes has yet to talk to Laure in 2018, but he stressed that Laure's injury is legitimate.
"Noong first year ko [sa UST], may ganoon na siya," said Reyes, pointing out that Laure wears a brace on her right shoulder for support. "Second year, meron na rin."
Reyes is well aware that there are many who will continue to question Laure, and plenty more who will spread unfounded rumors and speculate widely, especially online.
The UST coach is simply asking those people to be more discerning.
"May nag-discuss sa amin na, kung may nabasa ka, i-find out mo kung totoo 'yung binasa mo," said Reyes. "So sa mga readers, kung ano 'yung nababasa nila, [it's] for you to find out kung totoo o tama o mali 'yung binabasa mo."
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