international volleyball

Student before athlete: Mhicaela Belen took exams in Asian Club Volleyball stint

Leigh Nald Cabildo
Student before athlete: Mhicaela Belen took exams in Asian Club Volleyball stint

BRIGHT SPOT. Teen volleyball player Mhicaela Belen proves her potential on the international stage.

Asian Volleyball Confederation

Tagged as one of the country’s future volleyball stars, 19-year-old Mhicaela Belen proves she can juggle school and sports during her international debut

Taking exams is already tough, but taking school tests right after an international match is even more impressive. 

Rebisco’s Mhicaela Belen shared she had to attend class and take exams during the national team’s stint in the Asian Volleyball Club Championship last October 1 to 7 at Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

Noong AVC, umaattend po ako ng class kapag kaya po,” Belen said in an interview on Rappler Talk on Tuesday, October 19. “Meron pa nga po, noong after game, naalala ko po nag-exam pa po ako noong gabi. Pagod po, pero kaya naman po.” 

(I attended online classes during our AVC campaign. One time, I had to take an exam after our game.)

The 19-year-old student-athlete from National University, who recently debuted for the Philippine team, is one of the bright spots in Rebisco’s underwhelming campaign in Thailand. Belen posted double-digit scores in several games, but they’re still not enough to lift her team from a seventh-place finish.

For Belen, the national team needs more time to train and play together in order to compete for a podium finish.

“‘Yung chemistry namin as a team, isa pa rin po iyon sa dapat namin pagtrabahuhan,” she said. “Kasi yung mga kalaban namin, sila nagtraining na sila for so many years. Eh kami po, pinatawag lang kami kung kailan [malapit na ang competition].”

(We need to work on our chemistry. Some teams have been training for so many years but our team barely trained together prior to the competition.)

Aside from gaining experience from international competition, Belen also treasured her time with the country’s new coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito.

Belen had nothing but praise for Team Rebisco’s Brazilian tactician.

Maayos po siya magturo,” Belen said. “Nakikisabay po siya sa training namin, nakikipagtawanan siya. And yung way kung paano siya magturo sa amin, pinapaintindi niya talaga sa amin kung paano dapat laruin ang volleyball.”

(Coach Jorge is a good teacher. He trains and bonds with us. He tells us how volleyball should be played.)

The Lady Bulldog standout received praise and gained fans, including volleyball star Alyssa Valdez herself, for becoming one of Rebisco’s main sources of firepower.

Now tagged as one of the country’s future volleyball stars, Belen said she appreciates all the compliments and aims to bring her national team learnings to the UAAP.

Flattered po ako, super talaga. At alam ko po sa sarili ko na hindi pa ‘yun ang best [performance ko],” she said. “I think ang dami ko pa pong kailangan iimprove kahit ganoon po ang sinasabi ng ibang tao. Marami po akong natutunan na magagamit ko sa UAAP journey ko.”

(I’m flattered. But that’s not my best performance yet. There’s a lot to improve. I hope I can use this AVC experience in my UAAP journey.) –