Crashing out of the Shakey’s V-League semis race was a first for UST in the history of the league and the disastrous conference of the Golden Tigresses has exposed a lot of loopholes in the celebrated university’s depleted lineup.
But if there was a silver lining, it was seen in UST’s high school stars who pretty much lifted the deflated Tigresses throughout the conference.
Eya Laure and Maji Mangulabnan proved they’re ready for the next level.
But for now, they’re returning to the juniors’ lineup to form one of the deadliest, if not the deadliest, group of high school players in the country.
“Thankful and happy kasi kahit papano nagkaroon kami ng exposure, experience and naranasan namin yung feeling na yun kasi siyempre hindi naman lahat ng high school players puwedeng bigyan ng exposure katulad ng binigay sa amin ni coach (Kungfu Reyes),” Laure told FOX Sports.
“Nakaka-challenge kasi iba yung environment. Iba yung nakalaban na mas matatanda so madaming natutunan talaga. Looking forward sa madadala namin sa UAAP sa high school,” Mangulabnan added.
In the absence of UST’s seniors in the Collegiate Conference, Laure took the responsibility in the attacking end as expectations pile up for the junior Golden Tigresses captain heading into the UAAP Season 79.
Having defeated their bitter rivals, junior NU Lady Bulldogs, in the Shakey’s Girls League of the Champions, nothing less of a UAAP championship is expected from them.
Since the departure of EJ Laure from the high school ranks, the juniors volleybelles of UST, the UAAP title became elusive but the younger of the Laure though, has full confidence they would get the crown back this coming season.
“Kaya yan. Wala naman akong doubt sa team namin sa high school. Hindi naman sila yung easy-easy lang. Siyempre as a captain hindi ko sila pinapayagan na petiks-petiks lang sa training lalo na malapit na yug season. Goal namin ngayon is mabalik yung crown sa UST for us yun talaga yung pinakagoal namin this season,” she said.
Two years from now, Eya would formally enter the colligiate ranks and even if she insisted her focus is still on their high school team, she also admits about thinking the future where she could easily step in and be the main man of the Tigresses.
“This very moment kahit papano naiisip ko na rin [yung future with UST], pero siyempre bukas high school na ulit ako sa focus na muna ko sa UAAP,” Laure said. – By John Chester Fajardo
Follow this writer on Twitter: @_chesterfajardo