MANILA, Philippines – UST Golden Tigresses team captain Eya Laure decided to forgo her final UAAP season to play as a professional in the Premier Volleyball League.
The “Queen Tigress” announced her decision on her Instagram page, just minutes after teammate middle blocker Imee Hernandez also bid UST goodbye on Thursday night, May 25.
Laure ended her 12-year stint in España, apologizing to the UST community for failing to deliver a UAAP women’s volleyball title, which it last won in 2010.
“That is why up until the last minute, I wanted to find a way to play for one more year. It’s like I broke up with thousands of people and my heart is shattering into pieces,” Laure posted in a mix of English and Filipino.
“It hurts so much and it is hard to say goodbye. Sorry I couldn’t bring a championship that you deserve. But more than that, I’m grateful,” she added.
“It’s like my heart will explode because of the overwhelming gratitude that I have for the community.”
A highly touted prospect out of the UST Junior Golden Tigresses, Laure earned a myriad of awards in high school, including the UAAP girls’ volleyball MVP.
She was part of the UAAP Season 76 squad that won the girls’ championship, and stayed on to play collegiate volleyball in UST in 2019.
During her first campaign, where she earned the top rookie plum, the Tigresses reached the finals, where they fell to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in three games in the UAAP Season 81 championship series.
The UST stalwart was last year’s top scorer after towing the team to a 9-5 record as the third seed, only to fall short against fourth-placed Ateneo in the Season 84 stepladder semifinals.
This year, Laure remained on top of the scoring race, but was not able to cop an individual award.
UST fell to eventual champion La Salle Lady Spikers in the Final Four.
Laure had played with sister EJ as an amateur with the Chery Tiggo Crossovers in the Philippine Superliga.
Hernandez also bid the Tigresses adieu to play professionally.
“Now that I am done with my studies, with [the UST community] by my side, I am more than ready to face the bigger challenges that lie ahead as I continue to pursue my passion for the game of volleyball on a grander stage and under brighter lights,” said Hernandez.
“I have decided to go professional,” she added, not revealing the Premier Volleyball League team she has decided to sign with.
Hernandez played just two games in her rookie season unfortunately halted by the pandemic in early March 2020.
In her UAAP debut, the homegrown product fired 18 points, including six rejections in a five-set loss to the NU Lady Bulldogs.
Hernandez poured her heart out in paying tribute to UST, which served as her school from high school through college.
“It seems like only yesterday when a skinny little girl from Baliwag came to España, Manila, filled with uncertainty and excitement. But that was way back in 2014,” Hernandez said.
“My knowledge of the game, which eventually changed the course of my life, was very simple. I had nothing to offer, yet you embraced me without hesitation…You saw in me the potential I never recognized,” she continued.
“This community believed in me, and because of your unwavering love and support throughout the years, I reached new heights and achieved many personal goals.” – Rappler.com
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