EJ Laure’s deferment is a step forward for UST

It is always a wise decision to step back and survey the field before moving forward.

That’s what EJ Laure’s decision of not playing for the UST Tigresses in Season 81 has achieved. While fans are raring to see her in action after suffering a shoulder injury, the odds are just not in her favor. A lot of boxes were ticked for now and for the future with this one move.

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Making her way to game shape

An IG post that has been circulating for days suggests that Laure has recovered. However, there is a big difference between being physically fit and being in game shape. The former can be achieved through exercise and training while the latter can only be attained through playing competitive volleyball regularly. Aside from playing at a high level, game shape entails the psychological capability of handling pressure and dealing with the rigorous ordeal of being a student-athlete.

This is where the other Tigresses have an advantage over her. They’ve been in game shape practically all year long because of UAAP Season 80, the PVL Collegiate Conference, and the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam. Even Cherry Ann Rondina is in this state by playing for the Petron Blaze Spikers. It takes a while before one can breach this level especially after an injury. Simply put, the older Laure is still on her way. There’s no doubt that she can play. But being The Phoenix that we know off is another question.

The pack is loaded

Likewise, she will be in for some grueling competition should she decide to come back this season. Rondina is perched atop their spiking corps and is unlikely to be removed because its her last playing year and, let’s face it, she’s been great. The same can be said for UAAP Season 80 Rookie of the Year Milena Alessandrini who scored 13 points in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam 2018 Final against the UP Lady Maroons despite not being 100 percent.

Eya Laure, Ysa Jimenez, and Carla Sandoval have also shown promise during their stints. That’s a potential rotation of five hitters without mentioning EJ Laure yet. By taking her name off the logjam, the older Laure retains a maximum eligibility of two years. The move also lessens the headache for Coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes in sorting out the final roster.

As the Tigresses march on to Season 81, Ennajie Laure can regain her form while playing in other leagues. Once Rondina expends her playing years, the UAAP Season 77 Rookie of the Year will be more equipped to fight for a roster spot and could become the veteran presence needed by a relatively young crew of UST hitters.

A louder roar come Season 82

When everything falls into place, we’re staring at an Eya Laure who already has one year of collegiate volleyball experience, an even better Milena Alessandrini, and a legitimate scoring threat in EJ Laure. Once this potential core sparks a deep run two seasons from now, we’ll remember that this decision enabled UST to claw its way back as a potent contender for the crown.

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