THIS early in her career, high school sensation EJ Laure is already being hailed as the missing link in the renaissance of University of Santo Tomas' women's volleyball team.
The better news is, she has vowed to stay put.
Laure, the MVP of the UAAP girls’ volleyball tournament last season, is making quite a splash in her debut for the Tigresses in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference.
In three games as a guest player for the Tigresses, the 16-year-old spiker has emerged as the team's leading scorer after contributing 23 points in a five-set loss to National University, 17 in UST’s first win against Far Eastern University, and 18 in another victory over San Sebastian.
“She's playing as expected,” said UST coach Odjie Mamon of his super rookie. “Hindi siya liability, asset siya.”
Her fine play in the juniors division has certainly caught the attention of other schools, and the daughter of PBA player Eddie Laure of Alaska confirmed she has received some offers.
But unlike former UST high school star Alyssa Valdez who moved to Ateneo in college, Laure said she is certain that she will stay on with the Tigresses in college.
“May mga nag-o-offer naman na ibang schools, pero sure na sure na po ako, gusto ko mag-UST talaga,” she said.
Aside from the two-year residency rule that would hinder her if she transfers to another UAAP school, Laure said she couldn't bear seeing her high school mentor be disappointed a second time.
“Hindi pa ako makakalaro agad sa UAAP pag lumipat ako (sa ibang team), so tinignan ko na lang `yung kung saan ako makakalaro agad,” she said.
“Dati si Ate Alyssa umalis siya, nagtampo si coach Kungfu,” Laure added. “So gusto ko lang maging proud sa akin si coach Kungfu.”
The 5-foot-9 Laure's arrival should be a big boost for the UST women's volleyball team, once among the most dominant in the league. The Tigresses have missed the playoffs the past two years.
Aware that people are beginning to take notice, the incoming Information System student doesn't want to put too much pressure on herself at this stage in her career.
“I-laro ko lang mga tine-training ko, enjoy lang," she said. "Wala naman masyadong expectation sa sarili ko, laro lang."