Palaro alum Tricia Santos happy volleyball is getting proper attention

Bjorn Landas
UST rookie and Palaro alum Tricia Santos returned to the national games to support her Davao-based sister, and is impressed with the condition of the game at Palarong Pambansa

UST's Tricia Santos at Rappler's Palarong Pambansa media headquarters in Laguna. Photo by Aki Yatco/Rappler

LAGUNA, Philippines – “I’m so happy and I feel blessed that the sport is getting the attention that it deserves because volleyball is a hard sport.”

Those were the optimistic words of UST rookie Tricia Santos, who was spotted in the crowds of Laguna Sports Complex watching the Volleyball Girls secondary division’s game on Tuesday, May 6. 

Supporting her sister playing for the Davao Region, Santos talked about how being a Palarong Pambansa product helped her be the player she is now.

Palaro: the stepping stone

Santos was the first to play volleyball in the family, followed by CJ Santos, DAVRAA’s setter and her little sister. Determined to play in Palarong Pambansa, she had to change her sport.

“I played basketball before, but then Davao didn’t have a girls’ basketball team. They didn’t have (a division for girls) before in Palaro, but I know that they have one now. I had to shift to play in the Palarong Pambansa, so that’s what I did. I played volleyball instead of basketball,” Santos recalls.

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Her skills and passion for the game carried her to the DAVRAA’s volleyball team and to be in the most awaited sports event in the country.

“It’s one of my stepping stones. I think Palarong Pambansa played a big role in the formation of my character as well,” Santos said.

Competing against sixteen regions, Santos played for DAVRAA back in 2008 and 2009. Now a part of the UST Golden Tigresses family, she still applies what she learned in those two years.

 “I learned a lot of skills that I use now in college, a lot of values, like respecting your opponents, your teammates, and respect for yourself. I learned the value of working hard,” Santos said.

“I brought the values of sportsmanship, dedication, and determination in college,” Santos added.

Improvements

Five years have passed since she stepped onto a Palaro court. She played volleyball for DAVRAA when the sports event was hosted by provinces Palawan and Leyte back in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Santos noticed improvements this year from the facilities down to the players.

“I think the sports complex is one of the best venues so far in Palarong Pambansa. I also noticed that the players train harder compared to back then,” Santos said.

Volleyball recognized

The rise of the UAAP volleyball tournament made way for the sport to thrive and be noticed. Nowadays, Filipinos anticipate these games, most especially the women’s division.

“In the Philippines, we’re so used to only seeing a few sports like basketball. It’s the only popular sport in the Philippines. Volleyball gave variation to everyone,” Santos said.

When asked about who she thinks is UST’s rival, Santos was humble enough to say that all the teams are their rivals. “I think everyone’s competitive because we all worked really hard, so I believe everyone wants to showcase their best in the upcoming season,” Santos said.

In every sport, skill is not enough. That’s why Santos takes inspiration from her coach, Arthur “Ojie” Mamon. “My coach, I believe, is my mentor not only during training and inside the court, but when we have personal problems, we talk to our coach. He gives us the mental steadiness and awareness,” Santos said.

For those who want to pursue their love for volleyball, her advice is to work hard. 

“Just work hard. Respect everyone because you’re never sure of what’s going to happen tomorrow and just enjoy playing the game ‘cause you’ll never know when’s your last game,” Santos said. – Rappler.com