UST names two junior standouts as guest players
ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 26, 2016 01:08 PM
V-League National Battle of Champions Best Setter Maji Mangulabnan (left) and MVP and Best Outside Spiker Eya Laure.
Make way for this pair of exceptionally talented 17-year-olds who will debut in the upcoming Shakey’s V-League Season 13-Collegiate Conference as guest players of University of Santo Tomas.
If the family names of Eya Laure and Maji Mangulabnan ring a bell, they should.
More than being kid sisters of two respected players in the sport, the V-League National Battle of Champions (high school division) recently crowned Laure MVP and Best Outside Spiker and Mangulabnan Best Setter in its last season.
Their school, UST, won the title over National University.
Laure’s sister Ennajie or EJ again banners UST this year as the Growling Tigresses attempt to improve on their fourth-place finish in the Collegiate Conference last year.
Mangulabnan comes from a family of setters in Batangas led by older brother Vincent, a mainstay of the NU Bulldogs’ back-to-back UAAP championships and who last played for runner-up Cignal TV in the recently-concluded Spikers’ Turf Open Conference topped by Philippine Air Force. Their younger brother, Jan Frederick King, 14, is also a setter for the junior squad of De La Salle College-Lipa City and is reportedly already being wooed by at least two UAAP member schools.
Another sibling, Hannah, played for University of the Philippines as an open spiker and later as a service specialist.
Word has it that UST coach Kungfu Reyes will be providing his guest players, both in Grade XI, longer playing time to prepare them for the incoming UAAP high school volleyball season. Reyes is indeed out to maximize the playing years of Laure and Mangulabnan.
There are a lot of other reasons to watch the V-League Collegiate Conference, whose major partnership with Accel, the official outfitter, and Mikasa, the official ball, helps carry it through the years.
Foremost of these reasons is Alyssa Valdez’s return to collegiate ball to play for the last time for her alma mater Ateneo, whose two consecutive UAAP titles will always be the crowning jewels of her illustrious career. This year, the Lady Blue Eagles will get a crack at avenging their 1-2 loss to the Lady Bulldogs in last year’s best-of-three finals.
San Beda College’s first ever appearance in any V-League tournament is interesting to watch as well.
Coach Nemecio Gavino Jr. said his team hopes to land in the quarterfinals with help from veteran guest players Janine Marciano and Wenneth Eulalio. Other players to watch on the SBC lineup are open spiker Francesca Racraquin and Kath Magsumbol, who’s returning to school competitions after playing for some time for Philippine Coast Guard in the V-League.
A San Beda alumna, Marciano suited up for Open Conference champion PLDT Home Ultera last season and recently for Balipure, third placer this year. Eulalio was a member of the disbanded Cagayan Valley squad who last saw action for Team Laoag in this year’s Open Conference.
Ten teams bracketed in two groups of five each are seeing action in the Collegiate Conference this year. Ateneo plays in Group A along with defending champion NU, NCAA runner-up San Sebastian College, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, and Technological Institute of the Philippines.
NCAA titlist College of St. Benilde heads Group B which also includes UAAP Top Four finishers Far Eastern University and University of the Philippines and UST and San Beda.