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As much-anticipated debut nears, Eya Laure shrugs off Rookie of the Year hype

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Tiebreaker Times As much-anticipated debut nears, Eya Laure shrugs off Rookie of the Year hype News UAAP UST Volleyball  UST Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Eya Laure

Eya Laure has been ready for the seniors division since 2016.

The younger of the Laure sisters will finally debut for the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses when UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball Tournament kicks off in early February. Laure had won every accolade she could in the UAAP Juniors division, even before the country’s shift to the K-12 academic program kept her as a Junior Tigress for an extra two years.

A former Best Spiker, Best Setter, Most Valuable Player, and champion, Laure knows that individual success in volleyball stems mainly from the success of a team. But even if she’s highly-favored to win Rookie of the Year, Laure is shrugging off the hype.

For her, helping the Tigress redeem themselves from a seventh-place finish in Season 80 is the top priority.

“Hindi ko sini-sink in na ‘pag UAAP, for sure, si Eya Laure yung magru-Rookie of the Year. Sa akin kasi more on kung paano yung magiging performance ng team ngayon ‘yung mas importante sa akin,” the 19-year old said after the Tigresses brought home silver in the inaugural Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam.

“Hindi naman ‘yung individual awards. Kumbaga ‘yung individual awards siguro bonus na lang siya as a player.”

Laure headlines one of the best rookie batches in years, as almost every team will have an infusion of young talent. In UST alone, Laure will be joined by fellow Junior Tigress standout Maji Mangulabnan, former University of the East Junior Lady Warrior Yssa Jimenez, Laguna-native Mafe Galanza, and libero Rizalinda Martin as newcomers who figure to make an immediate impact.

Along with a healthy Milena Alessandrini and a determined graduating senior in Sisi Rondina, the Tigresses are stacked. The España-based program had an eventful buildup for Season 81, winning their third straight UniGames title.

The Tigresses have played like UAAP contenders, but they know that off-season success doesn’t always translate in the best collegiate league in the country.

Laure will have to handle immense amounts of pressure, which she anticipates will be a challenge. Eya’s older sister Ej, who will reportedly sit out Season 81, won the Season 77 Rookie of the Year. Eya will also shoulder comparisons with her sister.

But, all of this is familiar. Wearing the Gold and Black with her longtime coach on the sidelines, Eya is just happy to be a Tigress.

“Sa akin naman kahit papaano natutunan ko na rin i-handle ‘yung pressure na binibigay sa amin. Kumbaga kailangan mo rin i-motivate ‘yung sarili mo kasi ang dami naming rookies na dadating this season,” she declared.

“Sa akin naman gagawin ko lang kung ano ‘yung kaya kong gawin. For me, nae-excite ako. Happy ako kasi naglalaro ako para sa UST.”

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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