MANILA, Philippines -- Sisters EJ and Eya Laure were ecstatic to have played together for University of Santo Tomas' (UST) women's volleyball team in UAAP Season 82, even though their on-court reunion lasted just two games before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to stop its games -- and eventually cancel the season altogether.
The Golden Tigresses went 1-1 with the Laure sisters on the court together. In their last game, they combined for 28 points in a sweep of rivals Far Eastern University.
According to Eya, however, their partnership wasn't always so smooth. The sisters played together for UST's girls team in Season 76, with EJ as their star spiker and Eya as the setter.
"Noong high school, medyo nagko-kontra kami, kasi setter ako tapos spiker siya," Eya revealed to Petro Gazz's Cherry Nunag in an episode of Kalye Confessions.
"Siyempre, bata pa, immature pa," she added. "Sobrang immature talaga, kasi, 'pag inaaway ako ng ate ko sa labas ng court, pagdating sa laro, 'Ay, huwag mong i-expect na ise-set kita.'"
Eya would refuse to make plays for her own sister -- their top scoring option -- until she was called out on it by coach Kungfu Reyes.
"Hanggang sa papagalitan na lang ako ni Coach Kungfu na, 'Ano ba 'yan.' 'Sorry coach, eto na.' Saka lang," she said. "Tapos siyempre 'yung ate ko, magtatampo na sa akin. Lalambingin niya na ako, bati na kami. Iintindihin na namin ang isa't isa."
EJ and Eya went on to lead UST to a championship in Season 76, with EJ winning MVP honors and Eya getting the Rookie of the Year nod.
While she can afford to laugh at her actions now, Eya still regrets how she acted as a young, up-and-coming high school player.
"Grabe talaga," she said. "Bakit ko ginagawa 'yun? Dapat 'di ko ginagawa 'yun. Pinagsisisihan ko na pinersonal ko. 'Yun nga, immature talaga."
"Okay na naging spiker na lang din ako. At least 'di na tayo babalik sa mga ganoon. Nagiging mature na tayo paunti-unti," she adds.
Their relationship has greatly improved, and Eya could not be more grateful for her older sister's guidance on the court. She has learned greatly from EJ, who returned to the UAAP stage after two seasons away and barely missed a step.
In her first game back, EJ put up 17 points, 20 digs, and 12 excellent receptions in a five-set loss to National University.
"Andoon 'yung guidance na hindi kailangan puro lakas 'yung palo. Okay din 'yung patapik-tapik," said Eya. "Habang nakikita ko kung paano siya nage-earn ng points noong last two games namin sa UAAP, parang sabi ko, sobrang basic lang ni Ate EJ mag-volleyball, 'di lang puro lakas."
From letting off-court issues cloud their performance on it, Eya is now counting her blessings because she and her sister have had the chance to play together once again.
"'Yung feeling na nakakasama 'yung ate ko, kinikilig," she said. "Kasi, ang tagal din. Sobrang tagal."
To hear more from Eya, watch the full episode below:
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