By Lance Agcaoili
FAR Eastern University rookie Lycha Ebon turned heads in her first game in Manila, making an impressive debut for the Lady Tamaraws in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Season 2 Collegiate Conference.
Despite playing for the first time in a semi-professional league and a huge arena in Metro Manila, FEU’s prized recruit from Davao never wavered in starting in all five sets and finished with 11 points to help the Lady Tams in foiling the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, 25-19, 32-30, 15-25, 24-26, 15-4, on Sunday.
“Malaking adjustment ‘yung laro kanina medyo mahirap kanina kasi first time ko sa Manila. Taga-Davao kasi ako kaya kailangan pa ng konting push,” said the 5-foot-8 opposite hitter out of University of Mindanao. “’Yung mga kalaban po ang lalakas kasi talaga ng Manila kumpara sa Davao."
Ebon is wearing the iconic jersey No.2 of Bernadeth Pons, who played five amazing seasons with FEU.
But it wasn't intentional.
“Wala na pong number. Wala akong choice,” the 5-foot-8 Davao native shared.
For FEU Head Coach George Pascua, he believes that Ebon could be FEU’s next Pons if she keeps on improving.
“Possible, possible kasi first year eh. Alam mo naman kapag first year, hindi ganyan ang nilalaro medyo kabado pa pero ngayon tingnan mo sa stats isa siya sa mga nag-step up,” said Pascua on his rookie.
Pascua shared that a fan page of FEU referred Ebon, and without batting an eyelash, they visited Ebon in Davao and asked her to join.
“Actually, sa fan page ng FEU may nagsabi na , ‘coach may ganitong player, ganyan’. Sabi ko, ‘sige kako, bisitahin ko’. Pinunatahan namin sa Davao and na-convince naman namin pero before kasi may kumukuha na ring ibang schools sa kanya,” he said.
A lot of schools were recruiting Ebon including defending champion De La Salle and University of Santo Tomas but she decided to take her talents to FEU after falling in love with the eagerness of the school to have her.
“Sila yung pumunta sa'kin sa Davao. ‘Yung eagerness nila na gusto talaga nila ako kaya napili ko sila,” she said.
With a lot of former FEU stars who made great legacies not only in UAAP but also in Philippine volleyball like Pons and Rachel Anne Daquis, Ebon is not pressured in building her own name and just enjoying the step-by-step process.
“Tignan natin. Malalaman natin,” the 18-year-old spiker said. “Sa practice pa lang dinidisiplina ko na ‘yung sarili ko para makaadjust ako kasi iba talaga dito. Hindi naman ako napepressure kasi pag napepressure ako wala talaga akong laro yun yung napansin ko sa sarili ko.”