MANILA, Philippines -- University of Santo Tomas (UST) sophomore Eya Laure completely understands why the UAAP had to cancel Season 82, but the development still saddened the rising star.
The UAAP officially terminated the season on Tuesday, after the Philippine government extended the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Originally set to end on April 14, the lockdown was extended to April 30.
That meant that the conditions set by the UAAP for its return could no longer be met.
"'Yung offseason ng UAAP, parang sabi ko, grabe naman 'yung bakasyon na binigay ni Lord," Laure told ABS-CBN News via phone on Wednesday. "Ayaw ko naman ng ganitong bakasyon."
Laure and the Golden Tigresses compiled a 1-1 win-loss record in the UAAP Season 82 women's volleyball tournament before the league suspended its activities. They were just coming off a straight sets win over Far Eastern University that put their campaign on track, after losing their season opener to National University.
Laure, who scored 16 points in that 25-20, 25-16, 25-18 win, couldn't quite believe that it would be their last game of the season.
"Nakakabitin eh," she said.
Laure had kept herself in shape even during the quarantine. The UST coaching staff, led by Kungfu Reyes, gave their players workout programs and conducted weekly weigh-ins. Indeed, Laure had just finished her workout for the day when news broke of the UAAP's cancellation.
"Nakita ko sila coach na parang nag-chat sa Viber group namin," she said. "Tapos ayun, doon ko nalaman na wala nang UAAP."
"Hindi naman disappointed, pero siguro, nalungkot," Laure said of her initial reaction. "Mas more on nalungkot."
"Siyempre, lahat ng athletes, nag-prepare para sa season na 'to, para makalaro nang maganda sa season na 'to," she added. "Pero 'yun, hindi naman natin ginusto kung ano ang mayroon ngayon."
Even after the UAAP announced that it was suspending its high school activities last March 14, Laure had been hopeful that events in the seniors' division would continue. When the extension of the lockdown was announced, however, she began to brace for the worst.
"Nag-start lang ako mag-expect na maka-cancel 'yung UAAP noong nag-announce na na-extend 'yung quarantine," she said. "Doon lang ako nag-expect."
"Pero hanggang ngayon, hindi pa nagsi-sink in sa akin," she added. "Nabasa ko lang 'yung mga post and 'yung memo, pero kumbaga, hindi ko pa masyadong iniisip. Kasi, another lungkot na naman."
While she has yet to fully accept the development, Laure said that she understands the decision.
"Sa mga ganitong sitwasyon, mas pipiliin mo na lang din na maging safe sa bahay," she said. "Kasi, wala naman ding may gusto ng kung anong nangyayari ngayon."
"Sobrang hirap tanggapin, pero mas okay na 'yung move forward na lang ulit," she added. "Mag-pray na lang ulit for the safety ng lahat. 'Yun ang pinakakailangan."
Though she does not welcome the extended vacation from volleyball, Laure plans to make the most of the coming months to improve her skills and conditioning. It also gives her some time to rest, after a hectic 2019 that saw her play for the national team after her superb rookie season for UST.
She had wanted to show all that she had learned from those experiences in Season 82, but now has to wait another year.
"Mas hihigitan ko pa 'yung preparation na ginawa ko ngayon," she vowed. "Babaunin ko pa rin 'yung mga natutunan ko sa national team and sa pro leagues ko. 'Yung experience na naipon ko ng 2019, babaunin ko pa rin hanggang 2021. Mas hihigitan ko pa 'yung pagkondisyon sa katawan ko."
"Move forward na lang ulit," she added. "Look for the brighter side na lang, the silver lining."
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).