Kung Fu Reyes proud of UST high school standouts Vanessa Bangayan, KC Cepada
MANILA, Philippines—University of Santo Tomas coach Kung Fu Reyes tipped his hat to University of the East’s Vanessa Bangayan and KC Cepada after their gallant stand against the Tigresses in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.
After the Golden Tigresses’ four set win against the Lady Warriors, Reyes acknowledged the performances of Bangayan and Cepada—both products of UST’s girls’ volleyball program.
“That’s what we wanted to see, their growth. When we see them growing, it feels good for us. It just felt awkward seeing them on the opposite side but their killer instincts are still there. Their height is limited but their heart is unquestionable. They still have the Thomasian pride and spirit,” Reyes said in Filipino at San Juan Arena on Saturday.
“If they are proud of them, we’re prouder because they are our products.”
Both players complemented Janeca Lana’s 13-point outing for UE in the losing effort. Cepada finished with 12 points including a service ace.
Bangayan, on the other hand, was active on all four corners of the court with 11 markers built from 10 successful kills. She also garnered 11 digs and 13 excellent receptions.
FROM TEAMMATES TO FOES
Rokie Regina Jurado, who has been a consistent ace for UST in the first round, made sure to respond to the challenge from Bangayan and Cepeda, matching the performances of her previous fellow Junior Tigresses.
“I feel proud because we were together in high school. Seeing them now on the court, I’m just very, very proud of them and their growth,” she said after finishing with 13 markers from 10 successful attacks.
For Reyes, seeing both players walk away from UST was a hard decision but it was a necessary one.
If the head coach had his way, he would have secured both talents’ commitments in the Tigresses’ lair—but he thought their “talents can be relied on” somewhere else.
That “somewhere” is undoubtedly in Recto.
“We can’t possibly keep everyone so we’re always looking for where their skills, from high school to collegiate, can be showcased. If I were to be selfish, I wouldn’t have let them go but their talents would be in vain. Their talents can be relied on [in UE] and they’re having their own identities,” Reyes said.
“I’m thankful for coach Jumbo (Dimaculangan) because he puts his trust in our high school products. More to go, if ever. If we can’t absorb talents, we’ll give them to other schools, for them to continue their playing careers if it’s what they want.”