MANILA, Philippines -- "Mahaba-habang ligawan na naman."
This is what University of Santo Tomas (UST) star Eya Laure is looking forward to doing in the coming months as she hopes to convince her older sister, EJ, to play collegiate volleyball next year.
The Laure sisters' much-awaited team-up in the seniors division had lasted just two games for UST, as the UAAP decided to cancel Season 82 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Golden Tigresses went 1-1 with Eya and EJ sharing the court, as they lost to National University (NU) in their season-opener before going on to sweep Far Eastern University (FEU).
"Ang tagal namin 'tong hinintay na magkasama kami sa UAAP ng ate ko," Eya told ABS-CBN News. "Patikim lang pala 'yung paparamdam sa amin."
Eya had long hoped to play with her sister in UST after first teaming up with her in their high school team. EJ sat out Eya's rookie season to recover from injuries, but they were looking forward to renewing their partnership in Season 82.
In their first game together -- a five-set loss to the Lady Bulldogs -- Eya had 20 points, while EJ scored 17 in her first UAAP match since Season 79. They then combined for 28 points in a sweep of FEU last March 8, in what turned out to be their last game of the tournament.
When the news of the season's cancellation was announced, Eya was quick to ask her sister about Season 83
"Sabi ko nga sa ate ko, 'Ano? Next year?'" she related. "Wala siyang comment."
"Hindi pa ako sinasagot," she added. "Liligawan ko muna ulit ang ate ko."
But it's not just her older sister that Eya is concerned about. She also wonders what will happen to their other seniors, like Alina Bicar and Tin Francisco, and even Joshua Umandal of their men's volleyball team.
"For me, 'yun 'yung hinihintay ko na sagot, hinihintay ko na announcement -- kung paano 'yung mga playing year nila. Maka-count ba? Ano 'yung magiging decision," she said.
"Kasi siyempre, nakakabitin eh," she added. "Hindi mo akalain na 'yung laro na pala namin versus FEU na 'yun 'yun na pala 'yung last na laro na makakalaro namin sila. Nakakawindang."
Eya has no complaints about the cancellation of the season, however, as she understands that it is the best decision that the league can make under the circumstances.
The UAAP had already postponed its opening because of the COVID-19 outbreak, then held a high school championship game behind closed doors when the situation worsened. It eventually cancelled the rest of its events in high school and terminated collegiate tournaments in their traditional format last March.
"Mahirap na rin kasi ipilit," Eya said. "Baka mas lumala 'yung sitwasyon ng COVID. 'Yun na lang din ang iniisip ko."
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).