It’s official: setter Jewel Lai is out of UP both as a student and an athlete.
UP women’s volleyball team head coach Jerry Yee confirmed the news a few weeks after the team’s manager, Cecile Ronquillo, told FOX Sports that Lai will not be suiting up in the ongoing 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference.
Apparently, both parties have already agreed to go their separate ways as the incoming junior bids her UAAP career with the Lady Maroons adieu.
“As far as I know, yes, she is not returning to UP. In life kasi, there are things we need to move on from. Ganun lang ‘yun,” said Yee nonchalantly.
According to a previous interview with Ronquillo, Lai’s removal from the loaded UP roster is brought about by academic issues.
Asked what led to Lai’s departure, Yee shrugged and said it is not something for him to reveal.
On wishing the playmaker well in her future endeavours, the mentor shares: “Personal reasons (kung bakit siya wala na) eh. I’m not in a position to reveal what it is. Probably you could ask somebody else. Basta we wish her well. Siyempre God bless pa din. Life goes on eh.”
Prior to Lai joining the Diliman crew, Yee had to make do with converting spiker Nicole Tiamzon into a setter back in Season 76, his first year at the helm of UP.
Lai’s arrival in the following year coincided with the team’s resurgence in the women’s division as they completed its return to the Final Four of the UAAP early this year.
But where does the setter go from here?
“I’m not too sure where she’s headed but ‘yung sister niya graduate ng Benilde. And then may mga friends siya dun and alumni from Hope (Christian HS). Maybe that’s a destination,” shared Yee. “Marami namang ibang school na pwede siya. I haven’t heard or confirmed kung sa Benilde nga pero definitely not with UP na.”
This latest development ends the player-mentor relationship between Lai and Yee which dates back to the former’s stint with Hope Christian High School in the juniors division.
At this point, Yee declines to talk about how this unfortunate event is affecting him on a personal level as he chose to think positive and focus on the setters he has left in Mae Basarte and Rem Cailing.
“You have no choice eh. Ever since naman kunyari may na-injure, you have no choice kundi gumawa ng paraan. Same thing, pag nawalan ka ng setter and player, you have to move on and trabaho ka na,” he closed. — By Mac Dionisio