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Outside the court, searching for the hero within

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 05:20 AM March 18, 2018

Jeushl Wensh Tiu will be one of the vital cogs for Petro Gazz. —MIX GATPANDAN/CONTRIBUTOR

In this era of superhero blockbusters, it’s getting harder and harder to draw the line on extraordinary. When she was a child, though, Jeushl Wensh Tiu didn’t need to search far to find heroism. It was all around her at home—in the living room, the kitchen, everywhere. All she had to do was look up. Literally.

“I look up to my mom as my hero,” said the 26-year-old Tiu. “My mom is a law graduate and I learned about lawyers in the news, about how they help people. So my mom was a big influence for me. The things she taught me about law and the advice that she kept on giving made me realize I want to help other people as well.”

Now, Tiu is searching for the hero within.

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“Maybe I can be an inspiration to kids as well, especially to those in the province; maybe I can show them nothing is impossible,” said the 26-year-old volleyball standout.

That’s why almost five years since last playing for La Salle, Tiu continues living the life of a student-athlete, taking up law in Far Eastern U while playing club volleyball for new Premier Volleyball League squad Petro Gazz.

It’s a bit hard to imagine the soft-spoken Tiu thundering her arguments in a tense courtroom battle. For one, she tends to deflect attention, content in staying in the outer fringes of the spotlight. During the team unveiling recently, Tiu sloped off to the far edge of a photo shoot, standing almost unnoticed as Petro Gazz team owner Ricky Villavicencio and vice president Retchel Gabales fielded questions from sports journalists.

She could have made a quick, quiet exit too if not for the fact that last year, she told the Inquirer about her lawyer dreams. It was difficult to believe then that she could keep up with her grueling schedule—law school, volleyball and corporate work.

But a year later she is here. Already in her second year in law school and still hammering spikes on the court. Something had to give because her health was getting affected so she quit her corporate job to focus on her two most cherished goals—none of which she is willing to surrender.

“You can’t make everybody happy playing volleyball,” said Tiu, who plans to specialize in either family law or human rights. “As a lawyer, if you can share your stories with kids, maybe you can inspire them that it’s not impossible to achieve your dreams.”

Tiu said that if she runs into her eight-year-old self today, the young Jeushl Wensh might not even stop to notice her. “She’ll just run off to the streets and play. That’s what I did a lot, play volleyball until it got dark.”

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Someday, though, Tiu said, her eight-year-old self will be proud of who she will become.

She’s heard the crowd roar to every score she has powered past the net. Someday, when Tiu finds the hero within her, she’ll revel in the quiet satisfaction of being able to help—and being an inspiration to—other people.

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TAGS: Jeushl Wensh Tiu, Petro Gazz, Volleyball
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