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  1. #1

    FEATURE: Alyssa Valdez: In Superstar Territory



    Her awkward posture belies it. But once she steps on the court and makes contact with the ball, people instantly know that Alyssa Valdez is every bit an athlete. The coliseum barker calls her name, and her supporters go wild. Why not, when she has proven this season that she is the steady, dominant force for the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles.

    As of this writing, Valdez has already amassed 254 points, making her the league-leading scorer. Her closest rival and high school teammate Din-Din Santiago is at a “far” 196.

    “Hindi naman sa nagdodominate,” Valdez told PinoyExchange.com “Anduon na ako sa situation na ‘yun e, so why not give my best?”

    Fans shriek whenever they see Valdez. One afternoon, after coming out of the locker room, Valdez was welcomed by a group of girls screaming to have their pictures taken with her. One time, a fan even asked her to put her autograph on the former’s car. Despite the attention, Valdez says she has yet to get used to the admiration from her supporters.
    “I always feel that everything is just a dream,” Valdez says.

    On her own?



    The Lady Eagles raced to a 6-0 start. Valdez was in the forefront of that history-clinching feat for the team. She, together with graduating stars Dzi Gervacio, Fille Cainglet, Jem Ferrer, and Gretchen Ho seemed unbeatable. That was, until they collided with another powerhouse, the De La Salle University Lady Spikers.

    In that game, the Lady Eagles rolled to a piping hot start, only to lose steam in the end, and surrender a 26-28, 21-25, 25-13, 25-21, 15-13 decision. What followed was even more tragic.

    With Cainglet sidelined due to a right ankle sprain, the second-year player found herself in the position to lead her team on the court. But even her vaunted scoring ability could not stop the Lady Eagles from experiencing a depressing three-game losing streak.
    “Honestly, I was super frustrated. “ Valdez said. “Not because I was the only one playing well but because I could not do anything to help my teammates.”

    Valdez’ efforts amid the team’s misfortunes have prompted some fans to call Ateneo a one-woman team, dismissing the performance put up by the other players. Some observers speculate that there might be a rift among the players. Some say that Valdez has overtaken the “Fab Four” who have established themselves in the league for five years.

    “For me, I have not overtaken them,” the third year Psychology student clarified. “We are just playing as a team.”
    “If my teammates naman are not there, how can I play?”

    “Pero I am thankful pa din to those people who believe in me,” Valdez said. “And sa Fab Four, they are also there to guide and support me and most especially, they trust me. Kaya din siguro I can do the things I do on the court because of that trust.”
    Some people are also quick to point out that while Valdez is a beast in offense, she is a liability in defense. Valdez says that she takes the criticisms in stride.

    “I am thankful for all those people (critics) because I get to know what I need to improve pa and correct,” Valdez says.

    Valuable



    Despite Ateneo’s three-game losing streak, Valdez was able to make a record for herself. In their second round meeting, Ateneo lost a thrilling 22-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-16, 15-10 contest to the Adamson University Lady Falcons. Valdez, however, chalked in 35 points—the biggest individual scoring output in a single game in the UAAP. Filling the void left by Cainglet, Valdez practically scored on all fronts in that game. She unleashed 31 spikes, three blocks, and an ace. She says that while playing, she was unaware that she already set a record.

    “After the game, my teammates were teasing me,” Valdez recounted “But I believe that I made those 35 points because of them talaga. I guess that is one of my achievements ngayong college.”

    Valdez is known to give her all every game. This would sometimes lead her to suffer from cramps late in the match—a sight already common to her teammates and her family.

    “Normal na ‘yan kay Alyssa,” Gorayeb told reporters after Ateneo’s first round victory against Adamson where Valdez suffered from cramps. “All out kasi siya lagi.”

    Valdez says that her family just reminds her to always rehydrate and “eat lots of bananas.”



    As the league’s top scorer, third best spiker, and fifth best server, there is no denying Valdez has cemented her stature as one of the best players in her team and in the league. She and Gorayeb, however, credit this success to team effort.

    “Siyempre, valuable si Alyssa. Kita naman sa output niya e,” Gorayeb said. “Last year pa naman siya gumagawa, mas lumakas lang siya ngayon.”

    “Pero lahat sila (Lady Eagles) mahalaga,” Gorayeb added. “I don’t want to give credit to a single player.”

    “I really don’t want to be named as the biggest star kasi we are all making efforts to win every game,” Valdez said.

    Ateneo has done a good job in forming a team full of star players. But in that constellation of stars, Valdez definitely shines the brightest.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    I credit this girl for getting me into volleyball. I have been a sports fan all my life but never really followed a volleyball tournament, well except for the one that was held here in Manila with Leila Barros in it.

    There's something about her that makes you want to root for her. Maybe because although her game is flawed, she shows a lot of promise and passion for the game.

    Is she a superstar? Not yet. Is she the best player in the league? Not yet. But she has what it takes to be both. Right now, no one can deny she's bringing fans into the league. Some may be not volleyball-educated yet at asal fantard ika-nga, but I'm sure as they watch more of the games they will learn to have a deeper appreciation of the sport.

    At least iyon ang nangyari sa akin.

  4. #4

  5. #5
    She is indeed a Collegiate Volleyball SUPERSTAR!

    Thanks PEx!

  6. #6
    She can score in a team lacking in offense it seems....

    Congrats I suppose.

  7. #7
    Eagles FTW!!!! lucarns_0613's Avatar
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    I'd like to interpret that alyssa doesn't think she's a superstar nor does she care about any 'brands' or 'monikers' given to her. She just wants to help her team by doing her best in every game; sometimes giving more than what is expected of her to do.

    I like her stand about her critics, even thanking them because they help her in knowing what she needs to improve and correct (in her game). I think Ateneo WVT doesn't need superstars; they need student-athletes like her who has the right mindset and a character you can bank on until they meet their penultimate goal as a TEAM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by lucarns_0613 View Post
    She just wants to help her team by doing her best in every game; sometimes giving more than what is expected of her to do.
    of course she needs to otherwise who else would score for the team?

  9. #9
    Lady Eagles don't need to be superstars. They already are.

  10. #10
    i agree.she made volleyball fun to watch.

  11. #11
    met her several times and she is really very unassuming. one quality of a real superstar in the making...

    she has made volleyball in the country very popular with her numerous followers..

  12. #12
    A gem indeed. Well, I just hope you take care of her, in terms of improvement in her volleyball skills. Would be a waste if not.
    Last edited by warypawn; Mar 14, 2013 at 05:15 PM.

  13. #13
    For first time volleyball watchers/followers/fans, madali silang ma-amaze sa mga palo ni Alyssa...

    But if they start to understand the game... they would see Alyssa as a mediocre all-around player.

    Kaya andaming nagbubunganga bakit di sya naging MVP. Kase di nila naiintindihan ang larong volleyball. Alyssa is not considered a contender in the first place, and true enough, she doesn't belong sa top 5 ng MVP race.

  14. #14
    But she is good offensively, coming into the collegiate level, she can be counted as one of the top 3 attackers. But is that all she can offer? I hope not.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by pacopoq View Post
    met her several times and she is really very unassuming. one quality of a real superstar in the making...

    she has made volleyball in the country very popular with her numerous followers..
    she's indeed the most popular players because of her scoring...

  16. #16
    Allysa - Attacking Firepower and Excellent Serves.

    Blocks, Digs, and Receives - palpak. No wonder, nagtatago sa likod palagi... cause of errors during crunch time...

    Though she is not as emotionally immature as her teammates (maybe because of being a previous Tigress), she is nothing compared to her batchmates - Ara and Yeye, emotionally, psychologically, mentally, inside the court...

    But of course, her fans, the media, and everyone who doesn't know volleyball, will not understand this.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by baklah_ako View Post
    nagtatago sa likod palagi... cause of errors during crunch time...

    they lost the 1st game of this year's finals because of her (7 players in the court? forgot which set)

  18. #18
    If she is part of DLSU team, she could have improved all VB skills by now... only, she will not be scoring as much as she is scoring at Ateneo...

    This is because...

    1. At DLSU, ball is evenly distributed. Nobody has the monopoly of attacks.
    2. At DLSU, it is difficult to stand-out, everyone can score with just a simple push of the ball
    3. A Typical DLSU game is finished in 3 sets only

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by mrjayviper View Post
    they lost the 1st game of this year's finals because of her (7 players in the court? forgot which set)
    4th set of game 1. From that point, Ateneo lost all the momentum until the 3rd set of Game 2.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by mrjayviper View Post
    they lost the 1st game of this year's finals because of her (7 players in the court? forgot which set)
    Wag naman harsh masyado. They are in the finals precisely because of her.....2 years in a row. What more do you want from a rookie/Sophie. Hate the fantards not the player.
    Last edited by warypawn; Mar 14, 2013 at 07:16 PM.

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