Photo by Eduardo Solo/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – In each of the 5 seasons Alyssa Valdez played for the Ateneo Lady Eagles, she helped the team advance to the UAAP women’s volleyball finals where they battled the De La Salle University Lady Spikers.
Facing an opposition that frequently on such a big stage, as well as taking into account the rivalry between both schools, may lead to rifts between both sides.
But even after the Lady Spikers beat the Lady Eagles in the Season 78 finals in the final time they would see Valdez across the court, members of the team had nothing but praise for her on-court abilities and off-court personality.
“Actually yung bata naman, kahit sinong tanungin mong coach, [sasabihin nila] sobrang mabait. Sobrang down to earth. Siya, basta mag laro lang,” said DLSU head coach Ramil De Jesus.
(Actually, the kid, whomever coach you ask, they’ll tell you she’s really nice. She’s really down to earth. With her, it’s just about playing.)
Valdez’s resume is arguably the best in UAAP women’s volleyball history. She departs Ateneo with 3 MVP awards, 4 Best Scorer awards, 3 Best Server awards, two championships, and a Finals MVP award.
The 22-year-old star also has awards in UAAP beach volleyball competitions and Shakey’s V-League tournaments.
Her talents were on full display during the Season 78 finals, where she finished with a total of 82 points in 3 games (12 sets) and provided floor defense against attacks from La Salle’s spikers.
“Playing against her, it was really an honor to play against her. Ever since I was first year, parang nakikita ko na lalaban siya at lalaban kahit ano mangyari,” praised Kim Dy, who was named Finals MVP.
(I could see that she’d always fight no matter what happens.)
“Kasi nung game talaga parang… she called na, ‘bigyan mo na saakin,’ and then she would make a point. So kahit pagod na pagod siya, she would just push. So sobrang galing.”
(Because during the game… she’d call, ‘give it to me,’ and then she would make a point. So even if she was exhausted, she would just push. So she’s really good.)
Valdez actually shares a bond with a DLSU star in Best Setter Kim Fajardo. Before the two joined Ateneo and La Salle in the collegiate ranks, they played together for UST in the UAAP juniors tournament and won championships from Season 70-72.
Throughout their collegiate careers Valdez and Fajardo were seen sharing light moments despite playing for rival schools. After Game 3 on Saturday, April 30, the duo had an emotional hug.
“Si Alyssa kasi, sobrang alam ko yung ugali niya pag dating sa mga ganyan labanan,” Fajardo said in the press room after.
(With Alyssa, I really know her mindset when it comes to this type of games.)
“So sinabi ko lang sakanya na - kasi alam natin lahat na marami na siyang na prove, so parang, ayun, mag uumpisa palang parin yung buhay niya pagkatapos nang UAAP.”
(So I just told her - because we all know she’s already proven a lot, so her life post UAAP is just about to begin.)
De Jesus even mentioned that it’s a good thing the country is able to have an athlete with the abilities of the now former Ateneo Lady Eagle.
“Sabi ko at least nakapag-produce nang ganitong klase na player ang Philippines,” said De Jesus, who coached DLSU to its ninth UAAP title. “Same time mas papunta siya siguro sa mas mataas pa na level.”
(I said that at least the country was able to produce this type of player. At the same time, she’s going to reach an even higher level.)
On Valdez’s future post college, De Jesus said that “Hindi ko alam kung saan - V-League man o [Philippine Superliga]. At the same time, kung mag national team. So mas malayo pa mararating nung bata.”
(I don’t know where - V-League or Philippine Superliga or if at the same time, if she’ll join the national team. So the kid is about to reach even more accomplishments.) – Rappler.com