On court or on cam, Alyssa Valdez delivers

Even at the sidelines, former Ateneo volleyball star Alyssa Valdez shines in her debut as a television analyst


COURTSIDE. Alyssa Valdez analyzes the UST vs La Salle game and witnesses the Golden Tigresses dominate the reigning champion. Photo by Michael Gatpandan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Alyssa Valdez returned to the UAAP, but this time, the former Ateneo volleyball star took on a new role.

Debuting as a television analyst in a women’s match, Valdez worked alongside veteran sportscaster Boom Gonzalez and discovered a new perspective in the sport she loves.

Ngayon, mas na-appreciate ko yung score, mas na-appreciate ko rin yung each and every player na naglalaro sa UAAP, and [kung] gaano kahirap yung ginagawa nila as student-athletes.” 

(I now appreciate the score more and each and every player in the UAAP, and how hard it is to be a student-athlete.)

But becoming a UAAP volleyball analyst was something she did not imagine herself doing after maxing out her playing years for the Ateneo Lady Eagles.

“No, I didn’t imagine anything I’m doing right now, except playing for Creamline Cool Smashers,” said Valdez.

The phenom shared that playing on the court and covering the game on the sidelines are two different things.

As Valdez commentated the game that saw University of Santo Tomas (UST) pull of a surprise sweep over reigning champion La Salle, she admitted that her familiarity with the coaches helped with her analysis. 

Valdez was a product of UST head coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes’ juniors program and she also faced Ramil de Jesus’ La Salle team in the UAAP championship rounds. 

The challenge for her, though, is watching the new faces play on the court. 

Siyempre, kung nakalaban ko sila medyo may ibang anggulong makikita rin. Pero since most ng players na kinover ko ngayon, di ko rin talaga nakasabay sa UAAP, except siguro Desiree Cheng and Sisi Rondina. So I guess, masasabi ko na ate na rin ako ng mga naglalaro so I hope kung may mga nasasabi, it means well.”

(Of course, if I played against them, I think I’d see a different angle. Most of the players I covered today did not play in my UAAP days, except maybe for Desiree Cheng and Sisi Rondina. I guess I’m like an older sister to them now, so if ever I say something, I only mean it well.)

Aside from being an analyst on television, she had dabbled into hosting as well, even reaching the United States to cover the 2019 NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte with former Ateneo teammate, Gretchen Ho.

She couldn’t tell which was harder, but Valdez pointed out the main difference.

Kasi ito depende kung ano mangyayari sa game, sa situation. Ang hosting naman, there’s [a] script, you’re planning it already, pero at the same time, ito kasing bilis ng pangyayari. You have to think, you have to know kung ano masasabi mo and you have to really assess kung ano yung ginawa nilang tama, ano yung dapat nilang gawin to improve.”

(This one, as a television anchor, it really depends on the game and the situation. The events happen so fast, and you have to analyze what they did good and what they did bad. Hosting, meanwhile, there’s a script, you’re planning it already.)

Valdez rose to fame for leading Ateneo to a historic UAAP championship romp with Thai head coach Anusorn “Tai” Bundit in 2014 – which also denied La Salle of a three-peat title. 

She led Ateneo to back-to-back titles in 2015, but failed to graduate as a champion in her last playing year as La Salle bested the Lady Eagles in Game 3 of the Season 78 championship series. – Juro Morilla/Rappler.com