The preparations for the reunion of UST’s main guns in the 13th Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference is now underway.
Following the coaching staff’s strategic move to allow veterans Ria Meneses, Alex Cabaños, Chloe Cortez, Rica Rivera, Sisi Rondina and EJ Laure to play and develop their skills in the PSL, the Tigresses are all set to test their collective improvement against another set of powerhouse club teams starting October 1.
And while their absence during the Collegiate Conference caused the España crew to collapse and tally its first non-semis finish in the V-League, incoming junior Laure vows a complete attendance this time around.
“This time, mas ipa-prioritize namin ‘yung V-League kasi malapit na ‘yung UAAP tsaka hindi lang kasi V-League pinaghahandaan namin. Sasali din kasi kami ng UniGames this October,” she told FOX Sports.
It has been a busy off-season so far for UST’s core with Meneses and Cortez showing marked improvement during their stint with Generika while outside hitters Laure and Rondina gained valuable experience from Foton’s participation in local and international tourneys.
In the first 2 weeks of training together, however, UST head coach Kung Fu Reyes and his wards have their focus on individual skills before testing their chemistry anew a couple of days before the opener.
“Hindi pa kasi kami masyadong nagsi-six-on-six. Sa ngayon hindi ko pa nakikita kung gagana ba pag pinagsama-sama lahat ng natutunan namin sa kanya kanya naming teams sa PSL,” admitted the UAAP Season 77 Rookie of the Year awardee.
“Nangangapa pa kami pero sa mga susunod na araw, naniniwala naman ako na lalabas at lalabas ‘yung pinaghirapan namin sa mga nakaraang buwan,” she added.
The pressure is on for the Tigresses to snap what is now a 4-year Final Four drought in the UAAP and their performance in the upcoming V-League will be crucial in determining whether they now have the right combination of skills and experience to make it back to the upper half of the bracket or not.
But for Laure, all the tension goes down the drain now that everyone is back in the fold, sharing what they learned during their time apart.
“Miss na miss ko sila. Hindi ako makapaghintay na maglaro na kami ulit ng magkakasama kasi siyempre iba pa rin ‘yung saya pag sila ang kasama ko sa loob ng court,” she said.
Asked if they have what it takes to pull off a couple of surprises despite not having foreign imports, the spiker humbly said it will be nice to win but the goal is to learn as much as they can heading into Season 79.
“Ta-trabahuhin namin every game. Naghahanda rin naman kami ng mga strategies namin para lumaban naman kami at hindi mabugbog kahit na mga beterano na ‘yung mga kasama namin,” Laure shared.
“In the end, gusto lang naman namin matuto pa lalo bago kami sumabak sa Season 79,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio