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No Denden Lazaro for Foton; Ella De Jesus to suit up next conference



The Foton Tornadoes opened their PSL All-Filipino cup with a straight set victory over the Cignal HD Spikers. Foton rookies, Nicole Tiamzon, Pam Lastimosa, and Angeli Araneta were exceptional playing in their first PSL match, with Tiamzon even managing to nab the Player Of The Game award. However, there is one rookie who was missing in action for the Foton Tornadoes, Ella De Jesus.

We were able to talk to Foton coach, Vilet Ponce De Leon, about Ella’s situation with the team, and what has happened with Denden Lazaro. Denden Lazaro and Ella De Jesus were integral in Ateneo’s back-to-back championships in the UAAP women’s volleyball division. Since her collegiate career had ended, Denden applied for the PSL and was drafted by Foton. After the draft, she was unable to commit to her team, citing prior commitments. She was then replaced by Ella, who did not play in her team’s first game. As it so happens, Coach Vilet is very familiar with Denden. “Si Denden kasi talagang noon pa gusto niyang maging doktor. Kasi I’ve known her from the start, nung bata pa siya,” shared Vilet. Coach Vilet mentioned that Denden really wants to play for the team, but after her grueling UAAP schedule, Denden’s parents planned on celebrating by going on a trip out of the country. Unfortunately for Denden and the team, her family’s trip abroad happens while the All Filipino-Cup conference is ongoing. “Gusto niyang maglaro, but ang sabi ng parents niya, mayroon silang plans kasi after graduation. May mga plans silang trip abroad and stuff. The tournament is from March, April, and May. Matatapos school niya March, so she’ll only have two months [with her family].” Apart from that, Denden will be going to Med school this year, which starts on June. It’s to be expected that the workload for Med school will take up most of Denden’s time, so her family  asked that the team give them this opportunity to spend time with her.

The team did not hold anything against Denden or her parents, fully understanding where they are coming from. “Eh may Med school siyang magsisimula ng June. Sa April kasi ang trip nila and committments nila na guesting. So maiiwan sa kaniya one month nalang with the family. So sabi sa akin ng parents, bigyan naman sila ng time with Denden, and we understand naman,” added Vilet. Ella De Jesus, meanwhile, was scheduled to be Denden’s replacement in the Foton lineup. But, like her Ateneo teammate, her schedule has interfered with her joining the team.

“Actually she really likes to, kaya lang yung schedule. Kakatapos lang ng UAAP diba? Alam naman na rigid ‘yung training nila, they’ve been training everyday, even Sundays. Although she still wants to suit up with us, but unfortunately after the championship ang dami pang ginagawa nilang nakaschedule. She wants kasi to be committed to the team eh, kung magjojoin siya, training, games, she wants to be there.

There’s nothing to worrry about, though, because Ella will be joining the team come next conference, when she no longer has any other responsibilities. And while it has not been easy for the team, they are fully supportive of what Ella is going through. “Although our team owner is really understanding naman talaga about her situation. We will not give her a difficult time nalang na mag-ganon. Mag-concentrate muna siya sa studies niya, then after that graduate and finish her committments. Next conference she will be back with us,” ended Coach Vilet.

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