UAAP Volleyball

Locked in: NU star rookie Belen brushes off MVP chants as historic title nears

JR Isaga
Locked in: NU star rookie Belen brushes off MVP chants as historic title nears

POWER AND POISE. Bella Belen celebrates as the NU Lady Bulldogs move within a win of a UAAP championship.


Bella Belen, who’s running for both Rookie of the Year and MVP honors, wants to tune out the off-court noise as NU focuses on its bid for a rare 16-0 season sweep

MANILA, Philippines – Throughout the UAAP Season 84, NU Lady Bulldogs top rookie Bella Belen has captivated fans all over thanks to a mix of her infectious charisma and fearsome all-around skill set.

Although the homegrown star of Sampaloc is oftentimes all smiles on the court, opponents at this point of the season already know better than to underestimate the league’s top server, who is also in the running for both Rookie of the Year and MVP honors.

NU fans, of course, already know her standing in the league’s award races, as they showered her with loud MVP chants all throughout the Lady Bulldogs’ dominant Finals Game 1 sweep of the La Salle Lady Spikers.

Appreciative as she is for the support, Belen is however intent on tuning out the off-court noise, as NU is now on the cusp of not only a rare 16-0 season sweep, but also its first women’s volleyball title in 65 long years.

“I’m really just focused on the game,” she said in Filipino. “I hear the fans, but I’m really just staying focused.”

“I’m just here to play for now, and our only goal is to win a championship this season. If I get [those awards,] they’re just bonuses coming from our work as a team – just extra trophies for all our hard work.”

And work hard, the Lady Bulldogs did in Game 1.

Led by Belen and Alyssa Solomon’s 15 points, four Lady Bulldogs in total scored in double-digits, all while not letting any La Salle player score more than 6.

As the historic UAAP title comes tantalizingly within reach, NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan is confident that his prized ward is only focused on the task at hand, and that any other accolades that come along with her efforts are indeed just welcome bonuses.

“Not just Bella, but all of them have great attitudes in training,” Dimaculangan said in Filipino. “Their work ethic is something I really appreciate. They just need to continue doing what they’re doing, and keep enjoying the game.” –