Premier Volleyball League

Alyssa Valdez glad to replace UAAP heartbreak in Araneta with new PVL title memory

JR Isaga

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Alyssa Valdez glad to replace UAAP heartbreak in Araneta with new PVL title memory

ICONIC. Alyssa Valdez at the 2023 PVL Second All-Filipino finals

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Alyssa Valdez, a core figure of the two most-watched volleyball games in Philippine history, is grateful for fans' continued support as Creamline nabs its 7th PVL title

MANILA, Philippines – Alyssa Valdez, as a testament to being the undisputed face of Philippine volleyball, has played in front of the two largest crowds in the sport’s local history following Creamline’s successful 2023 PVL All-Filipino title defense against sister team Choco Mucho on Saturday, December 16.

Nearly 24,500 people tuned in at the “Big Dome” Araneta Coliseum to watch Valdez’s Cool Smashers eke out a five-set finals Game 2 heartstopper over the surging Flying Titans to cop their seventh franchise championship – an extended all-time record.

That massive crowd number blew out a previous Philippine volleyball high-water mark set back in 2016, when nearly 23,000 people watched La Salle edge out rival Ateneo in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball.

Fittingly, Valdez was glad Creamline erased that seven-year-long record, as with it came the erasure of an old heartbreak that she never got the chance to make right.

“We were still a bit younger back in those days and it was a heartbreaking loss, definitely. That’s one of my most unforgettable memories too,” said Valdez, the key piece of the 2016 Ateneo squad who graduated on the losing end of a La Salle championship.

“But that’s been changed with a sweet memory, one of the sweetest memories I have right now, and it’s this [PVL finals] win in Araneta Coliseum, so I’m really, really thankful to be back here with even more people watching.”

Valdez, who had been relegated to somewhat of a late-game specialist for Creamline, came in guns blazing in what turned out to be a five-set marathon against Choco Mucho.

Coming in fresh after sitting out all but the first frame, the three-time PVL MVP took charge as she always had in years past, powering down 5 of her 8 points in that crucial 15-point stretch, including the last two hits that sealed yet another Cool Smashers championship.

Ever the humble superstar, Valdez still deflected credit to her teammates and coaches after her masterful takeover, thanking them for covering for her while on the mend from a major right knee injury.

“I think that’s the one advantage we had this conference. We had a deep pool of players and we had excellent strategies from our coaches, from [head] coach Sherwin [Meneses] to our conditioning coach to our [physical therapists],” she continued in Filipino.

“Until the end, we had to be whole. If our number is called, even though we didn’t play in elimination games nor in most sets, we had to have our hearts whole, because the trust given to us in turn is just as whole. If you don’t play, it doesn’t mean you don’t matter.”

While much has changed in the seven years between the two most-watched volleyball games in Philippine history, some things still have stayed the same: Fans can always count on Creamline to deliver when it matters most, and Alyssa Valdez will always be there to make that magic happen. –

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