From UAAP to PVL: Eya Laure and coach Kung Fu Reyes reach semifinals
MANILA, Philippines—Chery Tiggo’s Eya Laure and deputy coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes have shared the taraflex for a long, long time.
With their solid bond, sometimes words aren’t needed. Just body language is enough.
So in the middle of their thrilling five-setter win over F2 Logistics in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) at Philsports Arena on Saturday, Laure communicated with Reyes on the bench without having to say a word.
Like clockwork, the University of Santo Tomas product looked at Reyes with a hint of surrender as they trailed 2-1 at the hands of the Cargo Movers. The veteran tactician also knew what that stare meant.
And he knew it wasn’t time for her to raise the white flag despite the disadvantage. He knew Laure’s capabilities because, of course, he did.
“There was one set where I looked at coach Kung Fu. I didn’t tell him anything but I looked at him like I felt that I wasn’t contributing because even my services had errors,” said Laure in Filipino.
“But I saw hope when I saw that face,” she added in jest, bringing her and Reyes to burst into laughter.
That’s just the way they are and were. Since Laure’s heyday as a high school volleyball sensation, Reyes was already there to call the shots for her.
It’s like a perfect pairing that bears tremendous results, like Oreo and milk, peanut butter and jelly, Mr. Miyagi and the Karate Kid, you name it.
Like they always did in the UAAP, Reyes and Laure’s connection fueled the Crossovers to the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference’s semifinals.
And like her run for the Golden Tigresses in the collegiate league, he never forgets to credit her top coach.
“I always say that without my coach beside me who was with me from scratch, I wouldn’t have my achievements in life… Whoever I am now, how I was molded, I’m happy because, in these new milestones, I’m still with him.”
“In addition, our confidence level rose because now we have girls like Jen (Nierva).”
FROM ENEMIES TO RIVALS
Unfortunately for the tandem of Laure and Reyes, they never got to taste gold in the women’s division of UAAP volleyball. It was and will continue to be their “what could’ve been.”
A huge part of that is because they always had to face National University who was bolstered by Nierva and Princess Robles.
It’s a whole different ball game now at the professional level. Anything can happen, including sharing the bench with people that you consider as long-time rivals.
Reyes, who had to stomach UST losses as the head coach at the hands of the Lady Bulldogs, saw just how strong one squad can be when you combine rivals.
“It’s easy to win because they’re all together now (Laure and NU products). That’s what I always think about… I’m not saying that just because we’re here, we’re winning right away. No, that’s not what I meant,” said the deputy mentor.
“Let’s just look at it like coffee. There’s balance with this team. You can have creamer or just have black coffee, like it’s a perfect combination.”
Certainly, the unison of collegiate rivals bore fruits for Chery Tiggo as it currently sits at the upper echelon of the league with an 8-1 record.