After making waves leading University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the UAAP, Eya Laure quickly established herself as one of the fast-rising stars of the Premier Volleyball League.
But Laure was quick to say none of her success would have been possible with the one person who has guided her for a long time—older sister EJ.
“To be honest, one of the biggest factors for me was my sister. If we are not together inside the court, I ask her ‘ate, what else am I lacking?’ Eya said in Filipino.
The older Laure also provided Eya with some sort of healthy competition that helped her find her place amid the most talented field of athletes in the country.
“During training, we talk trash to each other like ‘you were not able to block me’ or ‘you were not able to defend me’ so learn a lot and the work gets lighter because I am with her,” Eya added.
After exhausting her playing years in the UAAP, the former queen Tigress took her talents to Chery Tiggo a little before the Invitational Conference this year where the Crossovers finished in eighth place.
EJ, on the other hand, also played for the Golden Tigresses but skipped her last two playing years before turning pro and signing with the Crossovers in January 2022.
“I feel like I wouldn’t have survived being an open (spiker) here in the pro-league if not for her (EJ). Of course it’s given that coach KungFu [Reyes is also with Chery] and that he has been a father figure for me [from my UST years] until the pros but my sister has been my idol with how she moves inside the court,” the 24-year-old Laure said.
Core of the future
“Whenever I look at my ate, there are times that I wonder ‘How does it seem like she scores so easily, while I can’t deliver a kill even though I smash the ball hard?’”“Her guidance [helps me] as well and [watching how she] plays calmly [taught me a lot] because I play (aggressive). And of course my teammates who are always there even if I commit mistakes or score, they support me. That’s why I survived the first half year of my pro league stint.”
Chery did more than survive, in just Eya’s second conference with the team, the Crossovers flexed their youthful muscles. With such young stars as Imee Hernandez, Jen Nierva, Cess Robles, Joyme Cagande and Pauline Gaston joining the likes of Mylene Paat, Cza Carandang and Shaya Adorador, Chery Tiggo has a core built for the future.
And the team provided a glimpse of that future in the recent All-Filipino, speeding to a 9-1 (win-loss) run in the eliminations. But a lack of experience and unfinished cohesion stalled the Crossovers, who lost their final preliminary assignments to finalists Creamline and Choco Mucho. Chery Tiggo never recovered from those back-to-back defeats and was swept by the eventual champions and more experienced Cool Smashers in their semifinal pairing then by Cignal in the battle for bronze.
But if the Crossovers can carry their performance from the last conference to the next conferences, they are going to be a force to reckon with.
“I learned a lot; I had a lot of realizations that there are a lot of things that I lack [in my game]. The pain [of missing the podium] now motivates me for the [future] conferences,” Eya went on. “Whatever I lack as a player, no matter what position is given to me even … I will adjust. I can carry myself to help the team.
“For me, in the next conferences, I hope we can at least reach the podium, of course, because every member of Chery wants a taste of the medal and we are willing to improve [to get that].”
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