Like a father protecting his daughter, University of Santo Tomas head coach Kungfu Reyes defended his star player – EJ Laure – from baseless accusations making the rounds on social media the past few weeks.
Reyes clarified that Laure would be sitting out the 80th University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament due to a chronic shoulder — not due to pregnancy as what some quarters have been claiming on social media.
Reyes, who is also an assistant coach at Cocolife in the Philippine Superliga (PSL), stressed that he can’t stand seeing the young Laure being attacked so he has to clear things up and extinguish the burning rumor.
“I’m also hearing a lot of rumors. I’m also at a loss because I also can’t answer all those accusations.”
“But the truth is, she has an injured right shoulder. The term they used was ‘chronic shoulder injury’ because it’s already an old injury – a recurring injury — that resurfaced only recently.”
Laure plays a crucial role in UST’s rotation.
Together with another high-scoring spiker in Sisi Rondina, Laure is supposed to lead the Tigresses back to the title together with the battle-tested group of Dimdim Pacres, Tin Francisco, Shannen Palec and Filipino-Italian newcomer Milena Alessandrini.
But the excitement ended up in smoke after it was reported that she would be sitting out this year to treat a shoulder injury.
With that, speculations swirled around that it’s either she’s pregnant or not eligible to compete in the UAAP that will open on Feb. 4.
Reyes, however, bravely defused these rumors.
“Kung ano ang sinabi nya (Laure), dun ako magre-rely kasi tao sa tao na usapan na yun eh. Mas naniniwala ako kay EJ.”
Aside from the pregnancy issue, Reyes also clarified that there’s no truth in the rumors that Laure will sit out due to academic reasons.
In fact, UST has yet to formally release the grades of its students.
“Aside from that, malalaman namin kasi ang grades palabas pa lang sa portal ng UST.”
“Sa mga susunod na araw, makikita nyo naman si EJ sa laro. Manonood naman yun.“
Reyes also reached out to fans not to jump into conclusion or circulate false claims on social media.
After all, the future and reputation of Laure is at stake not only as an athlete, but also as a student.
“Sa mga readers, kung ano ang nababasa nila, it’s for them to find out kung totoo o tama o mali ba ang nababasa nila.”
“Kasi ako, sini-seek ko talaga muna kung totoo o hindi. Itinatanong ko muna sa tao kung totoo ba ang lumalabas na mga balita para may validation.”
Reyes voice sounded firm, far from the jolly and easy-going person that he is.
That’s the voice of a father protecting his daughter.