This is the main ingredient to creating a great volleyball program—one that requires full cooperation and equal passion from the management, the coaching staff, the players, and down to the utility man handing water to athletes during timeouts.
“May friend ako na fan ng volleyball nung time pa nila (Rachel) Daquis. Nag chat siya sa akin na may kasama sila doon sa liga ng barangay doon na magaling daw na kaliwete,” recalled FEU head coach George Pascua. “Wala akong idea (sa level ng laro ni Ebon). Hindi ako nanghingi ng video. Ang sabi lang kaliwete, matangkad at naglalaro ng beach volley. Sabi ko titignan ko.”
Despite not having seen a highlight reel of Ebon, Pascua trusted the words of his fan-turned-friend as he flew all the way to Davao to see what the hype is all about.
And with just one glance, the mentor knew that the hype is real.
“Tinignan ko muna ang body structure niya kasi dun mo naman talaga makikita (ang potential). Nung nakita ko (siya), payat na kaliwete. Okay ‘yung kaliwete kasi madaming pwedeng pwestuhan,” he shared.
What Pascua saw was a lanky five-foot-nine right wing attacker who was brimming with potential, so much so that the coach offered—and succeeded—to fly Ebon to Manila as a recruit.
“Kahit hindi ko pa nakikita ang skills, binigyan namin ng plane ticket papuntang Manila with her mother. Hindi na namin tinignan ang skills,” said the coach.
Pascua was beaming with pride (as he should) while he told the story because Ebon turned out to be a gamble that paid off ten-fold.
“Kami kasing mga coaches may instinct kami na sa tagal na naming ginagawa ito, kita mo na sa tindig pa lang niya. Kumbaga sa sabungero, ‘yung tindig ng manok alam mo na kung maganda,” he said.
Even before the opposite spiker’s UAAP debut, she has already caught the attention of volleyball spectators through collegiate tournaments in the PVL and the PSL. Despite carrying herself with a quiet and humble demeanor, Ebon’s high leaping ability and powerful kills will continue to make much noise.
To cap the chat with Volleyverse, Pascua expressed his gratitude anew for the FEU fans who paved the way for Ebon to fly high and land in Morayta.
“Tiwala din ako sa mga fans eh. Hindi naman ‘yan basta magre-recommend kung walang potential. Kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa fans ng FEU na nag tip about kay Ebon,” Pascua closed.
With that kind of team work, the Lady Tamaraws unearthed a gem that will shine for years to come.