Alas Pilipinas

UAAP rivals Angel Canino, Bella Belen raring for first Alas Pilipinas team-up

JR Isaga

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UAAP rivals Angel Canino, Bella Belen raring for first Alas Pilipinas team-up

STARE-OFF. NU star spiker Bella Belen stares at La Salle rookie standout Angel Canino at the UAAP Season 85 women's volleyball finals Game 1

UAAP Season 85 Media Team

UAAP champions and MVPs Angel Canino and Bella Belen – widely considered the top two faces of Philippine volleyball's future – express their excitement to finally team up for the newly christened Alas Pilipinas in the AVC Challenge Cup

MANILA, Philippines – After much fan clamoring, Philippine volleyball is finally set to catch a full glimpse of the future after the initial pool of the newly christened Alas Pilipinas women’s volleyball team was formally announced last Wednesday, May 15.

Alongside proven veterans like Jia de Guzman, Sisi Rondina, and Dawn Macandili-Catindig, a vast majority of the roster for the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup is made up of young UAAP players and others who just recently turned professional.

Standing out a bit from the rest of the young core is the inclusion of a pair of UAAP rookie MVPs, Angel Canino of the La Salle Lady Spikers and Bella Belen of the recently crowned NU Lady Bulldogs.

(UPDATE: ‘Time to rest’: NU champs Belen, Solomon out of national team roster in AVC)

Canino, only the second rookie MVP in UAAP history in 2023 immediately after Belen, professed her excitement ahead of her seniors national team debut on Thursday, May 23, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

“I’m looking forward to play with Casiey Dongallo, Bella Belen, and ate Aly Solomon because we’ve only been opponents in the UAAP, so I’m really looking forward to play with them in the national team.”

“The national team is a big opportunity for us to see what else we lack individually and what else we can do. This opportunity is for us to present who we really are. We’re given the opportunity to represent our country, so we’re very proud of it.”

Belen, now a two-time MVP and champion after her historic win as a rookie in 2022, likewise beamed at the idea of these dream team-ups as they’re listed in the Alas roster.

“It’s exciting for me because we’ve battled one another in the UAAP, so now it’s time for us to team up,” she added in the Season 86 post-championship presser. “We all come from different schools, but once we’re on the same team, I think we’d click immediately because we’ve known one another for a while.”

“I saw the pool, they also had ate Sisi, ate Jia, ate Eya (Laure), the veterans, those whom I haven’t teamed up with yet. It’s exciting because there’s so much to learn from them as they all have a lot of experience locally and internationally.”

Belen understands that playing for the country is not something to be taken lightly or for granted, whether or not she accepts the call by the time the tournament rolls around.

“Every volleyball player’s ultimate goal is to be a part of the national team,” continued Belen, who last suited up for the country in the 2021 AVC Women’s Club Volleyball Championship.

“It makes me so proud because people are seeing what I’ve been working on and they want me to be a part of the national team, so there, I’m so happy.” –

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