EJ LAURE: This beautiful Tigress is more dangerous than ever
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 08, 2016 10:54 PM
By switching sports from basketball to volleyball, Ennajie Laure (second from right) has found her niche and, with undiminished family support, keeps raising her game a notch higher and higher.
Led by 19-year-old Ennajie Laure, she with the beauty queen-like grace and posture, the wondrous Growling Tigresses of the University of Sto. Tomas are presently the talk of the town.
They are playing all-Filipino in the ongoing Shakey’s V-League Season 13-Reinforced Conference, a tournament that allows a team two foreign players each, and have been doing exceptionally well.
Up till Game 2 of their semifinal playoff against 2016 Open Conference champion Pocari Sweat, beefed up by towering Americans Breanna Lee MacKie and Andrea Kay Kacsits, the Espana-based campaigners have been stoking up the surge of nationalistic pride even among non-fans as they showed true grit and spirit in mowing down or battling the reinforced opposition to the last point before losing on their way to a place in the Final Four.
The Lady Warriors swept their semifinal playoff with the Tigresses but had to dig deep into their reserve of firepower before doing so. In defeat in Game 2 that went the full limit of five sets, the Tigresses, rebuffed in the first two sets, all the more shone, their luminous, if losing, stand boding well for their upcoming stint in the 2017 UAAP volleyball season.
Of the Tigresses, Laure was most magnificent and awe-inspiring, to say the least.
Reappearing in the Reinforced Conference after her now-you-see-her-now-you-don’t stint in the Collegiate Conference, the eldest of four children of ex-PBA cager Eddie and Jovie Laure of Tanay, Rizal, paraded a vastly sharper Ennajie Laure in the season-ending tourney of the widely followed league organized by Sports Vision in cooperation with official outfitter Accel and official ball Mikasa.
Her spikes are now deeper, more powerful and accurate, eluding the blockers’ hands more often than not and landing where no defender is in sight. When told about her new attack mode, all she could say was, “Really? Thank you po.”
Mom Jovie has her own theory about this.
“She’s jumping higher now, that’s why she has more hits and less misses in spiking.”
Coach Reyes attributes it to Laure’s fighting heart and focus during training.
“She has this,” he says while putting a hand over his heart. “She always works harder at being a strong spiker. She has the will and the heart.”
Not a few have thought that with powerful spiker and UAAP MVP Mark Gil Alfafara joining the Tigresses’ coaching staff, Laure is getting a one-on-one spiking tutorial from the GenSan pride, who’s suiting up for heavy title favorite and finalist Philippine Air Force in the current Spikers’ Turf Season 2-Third Conference.
No, says Alfafara, he’s not doing any special tutorial for Laure.
“It’s all because she has wanted it bad, to be a more effective and stronger spiker. Her true potential is now coming out and she has more to show, mark my word.”
She’s a ‘bully’
How is Laure as a daughter, sister and friend? Here are her dad’s thoughts.
“As a daughter she listens to and heeds our advice. She’s a good kid; she may not be sweet and showy with her affections, but we feel her overflowing love for our family. There’s only one thing she demands of us – that we always watch her games. If Eya (her younger sister and a star in her own right on the UST junior volleyball team) has a game, we will rush from that game to be wherever EJ is playing and catch whatever is left of the action. But we always make it, thank God.
“As a sister she’s a most generous person. Now that she has her own money from playing commercial volleyball, her siblings (Eya and Echo, a varsity junior cager) always get gifts from her or some allowance. She’s super generous to Efo, our youngest who is four. She always takes him out to shop; each time she comes home she has pasalubong for him. When they were younger, Eejay would always mediate between the forever feuding Eya and Echo. Now that the younger two are not at each other’s throat anymore, Eejay always gives them advice, solicited or not. She’s really playing the big sister to the hilt.
“EJ is very makulit and a ‘bully’ to everyone close to her, siblings, friends, teammates and barkada. She does it affectionately, though. She’s a very transparent person. When she’s angry she’s not speaking. When she’s not, expect everyone around her to be at the receiving end of her affectionate peskiness and bullying.”
A buzz of excitement in the UST community preceded Laure’s debut in the UAAP senior division in 2014, mainly triggered off by her being a daughter of a former UAAP basketball standout from Adamson.
On her freshman year in the country’s most popular university league, she lived up to expectations. Last year, she suited up for one of our young national squads, an acknowledgment of her worth as a player.
In the words of Alfafara, the firstborn of a former cager who had played for a total of nine teams in the PBA has more to show.
With her heart and focus, expect Laure to keep raising her game a notch higher and higher for the glory of Philippine women’s volleyball in general.