MANILA, Philippines – Nothing is guaranteed for former UAAP Rookie of the Year EJ Laure even as she plots her return to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) women's volleyball team after a year-long break from volleyball.
Laure missed all of the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament due to a shoulder injury, and has not played competitive volleyball with UST since October 2017.
The 21-year-old open spiker is on the road to recovery, however, and has expressed her desire to play for the university in the upcoming UAAP season.
"Ilang months na rin akong nagre-recover, so ita-try kong bumalik ng Season 81," Laure said in a recent interview.
UST coach Kungfu Reyes is very willing to welcome Laure back into the Tigresses, but stopped short of guaranteeing a spot for her in the team.
"Kung chances, meron kasi nag-enroll (siya). Basta ang importante, naka-enroll, at naka-enroll na siya," Reyes said in an interview at the Athletes Village in Jakarta, shortly before the closing ceremonies of the 2018 Asian Games.
"Depende na 'yun sa kung ano ang progress ng training niya, pero siyempre, iko-consider naming si EJ kasi talagang gustong-gusto na maglaro ng bata," he added.
Asked if Laure will have to earn her place back in the squad, Reyes responded: "Oo, ganoon talaga."
It will all depend on how Laure will respond to their training program, the coach.
"Ang tinitignan ko diyan, parang Michael Jordan ba na medyo matagal nawala, so baka kinakalawang so kailangan bugbugin ulit sa ensayo," he explained.
If Laure makes it back, she will finally get to team up with younger sister Eya, who has been making waves for the Tigresses in their campaign in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference.
And while nothing is official yet, the young Eya is already excited at the possibility of having her sister as a teammate once more, after their successful partnership in the high school level.
"Super excited," said Eya. "Excited ako kasi makakasama ko na siya ulit."'
"Pero napapaisip din ako, kasi magiging senior ko siya ulit. Siyempre minsan, hindi naman sa may boundaries, pero ate ko siya kahit na may ganoon naman," she added. "Pag nasa loob kami ng court, walang kapatid – magtulungan lang tayo as teammates."
Laure, for her part, is rightfully proud of how her younger sister has been performing in the PVL.
"Siyempre, sobrang proud ako na kaya niyang makipag-sabayan kahit bago pa lang siya dito," she said of Eya. "Parang 'di na bago sa kanya."
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