Q&A with UST captain EJ Laure

After proving the hype is real in Season 77, UST spiker EJ Laure approaches the upcoming UAAP women’s volleyball tournament armed with a new objective: to show her leadership mettle as the new Golden Tigresses’ captain.

We sat down with the national U23 member on her thoughts about stepping up, missing the Final Four in her first year and what’s next for her in the collegiate ranks.

FOX: What was your initial reaction when you were appointed as team captain?
EJ: Siyempre na-shock ako. Hindi ko kasi in-expect na ako magiging team captain kasi sophomore pa lang ako.

FOX: Why did the coaching staff choose you as the Golden Tigresses’ skipper?
EJ: Sabi lang ni coach na ang nakikita niyang nagdadala sa team is ‘yung mga bata. Siguro dahil sa energy namin ng mga ka-batch ko like sila CC (Rondina) kaya niya nasabi ‘yun.

FOX: Wouldn’t your appointment as team captain hurt the morale of your seniors?
EJ: So far, wala naman akong nakikita na negative reaction from my seniors nung ginawa akong team captain. Supportive naman po sila kasi ang importante naman po is ‘yung team. Tsaka hindi lang naman isang leader ang kailangan sa loob ng court, lahat pa din kami dapat.

FOX: Having always been in the Final Four in high school, how does it feel missing the semis in your freshman year?
EJ: Ngayon mas eager ako na makabalik sa upper half ng rankings. Kasi nung hindi kami nakapasok last year, parang naging hungry ako at ang mga teammates ko na lumaban lalo kasi nakita naman namin na muntik na eh.

FOX: How big of an adjustment was it for you, switching coaches from Odjie Mamon to Kungfu Reyes?
EJ: Sa akin, hindi masyadong malaking adjustment kasi buong high school life ko si coach Kungfu na kasama ko. Familiar na ako sa style niya. Isang tingin lang alam ko na pag nagbibiruan pa ba o seryosohan na.

FOX: With Pam Lastimosa out for the season, who will be your partner in the outside hitter position?
EJ: Si CC Rondina.

FOX: Do you think she can match the output of Lastimosa?
EJ: Sa tingin ko kaya niya. Araw-araw magkasama kami sa training at nakikita ko na nagdo-double time talaga siya. Kita mo ‘yung effort niya na maangat pa lalo ang laro niya para makatulong siya sa team.

FOX: What kind of a leader is EJ Laure?
EJ: Hindi naman ako strict. Importante lang na magawa nila at magawa ko din lahat ng kailangan gawin sa court. I lead by example siguro. Importante ‘yun eh. We have to inspire each other sa loob ng court.

FOX: What can the fans expect from UST this season?
EJ: We will do our best every time we are inside the court. Buwis-buhay na kasi halos isang taon mong pinaghandaan eh. Hindi ka dapat susuko ng basta-basta lang.

By Mac Dionisio

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