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MANILA, Philippines – Hard-nosed leaders are always appreciated in any team of any sport, and the already loaded Creamline Cool Smashers just got one more ahead of the 2024 PVL season.
Amid the wildest and most high-profile free agent scramble in league history, the record-setting seven-time PVL champions got even better by snagging former Choco Mucho stars Denden Lazaro-Revilla and Bea de Leon, who was then the Flying Titans captain.
Alyssa Valdez, current Creamline captain, couldn’t be happier that her team is once again surging with talent and leadership shortly after the departures of former MVPs Jia de Guzman and Celine Domingo.
“Honestly, I was very excited when they announced that Bea would be a part of the Creamline Cool Smashers,” Valdez said during a recent Allianz sponsorship event joined by both Rebisco sister teams.
“There are a lot of memories and a lot of firsts during our Ateneo days. It’s just so nice to do that again in a professional league with Creamline.”
Nearly a decade ago in UAAP Season 77, the stars aligned for Valdez, already a college senior, and a rookie De Leon, both leading Ateneo to a rare 16-0 season sweep on the way to a championship.
As Valdez went on to volleyball superstardom with Creamline after Season 78, De Leon stayed with the Blue Eagles and further honed her dominance at the nets.
The 5-foot-11 middle blocker then led Ateneo to one last championship under her watch in Season 81 in 2019, alongside her future Choco Mucho teammates Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino, and Deanna Wong.
Once with the Flying Titans, De Leon remained a force to be reckoned with, scoring kill blocks and attacks with an animated swagger that soon became a standard Choco Mucho momentum booster, whether or not they were winning games with their young group.
Valdez hopes that with Creamline, De Leon continues to be a confident on-court figure despite losing her rotation spot amid the Flying Titans’ breakthrough finals bid last All-Filipino Conference.
“One thing I miss about Bea is her energy as well. I think we all know that Creamline has been very ‘happy, happy,’ so I think it’s a good balance also seeing how Bea would react and celebrate every point, and we’ll also support her also in that way,” Valdez continued.
“Bea will be a great part to our team and we’re just really looking forward for her to shine and get her game back.” – Rappler.com