No, we don’t need the next Alyssa Valdez. A new breed of powerful hitters is feisty, gritty, and brainy in its own right!
After a two-year break, UAAP Volleyball is finally back. The games ended last June 21 and we were greeted with monstrous performances and fresh faces from powerhouse teams. Universities left for the Final Four were NU, DLSU, ADMU, and UST and we weren’t surprised at all. All schools created superstars over the pandemic and this is just the beginning of their volleyball careers.
Here are just eight of the outstanding UAAP volleyball stars who have our attention.
1. Mhicaela Belen (NU)
Ela, as they call her, is the first-ever Rookie-MVP in UAAP Women’s Volleyball. She pushed NU to their first championship after 65 years of drought. This 20-year-old was all around the court as she proved both her offensive and defensive prowess. She ranked first in service, second in spiking, third in scoring, sixth in reception, and eighth in the digs department during the elimination round. She also bagged the 1st Best Outside Hitter award at the conference. Imagine how much more she would improve through the years. I repeat, it’s just her first playing year!
2. Princess Robles (NU)
The captain of NU Lady Bulldogs is also an all-around player despite being 5’5. She led the team to their championship and was able to sweep the whole season with a 16-0 clean record. She received the Finals MVP award after making 12 points and 6 points during their two final matches against DLSU. She also helped her teammates with her excellent digs and receptions. And yes, they were able to snatch 8 out of 10 awards in the competition. Now, that’s a great leader!
3. Jolina Dela Cruz (DLSU)
She led the young DLSU team until the finals. This outside hitter not only performed offensively but was very much felt defensively. Her feisty presence on the court pushed her teammates to shine and deliver in their roles. She gave her all this conference and although they fell a bit short, her spirit screams that she will lead the pack back to championship next season. Are NU and DLSU the new volleyball rivals? We’ll see.
4. Alleiah Malaluan (DLSU)
One of DLSU’s top scorers is this 19-year-old super rookie. She delivered gigantic numbers every match. She introduced herself to the volleyball community with her back row, down the line, and cross court hits that their opponents couldn’t read. During crucial moments, she became the go-to scoring machine of the team. Her volleyball IQ is already high and under the coaching of Ramil De Jesus, she will surely grow and learn more. We cannot wait to see how she will transform in the next conference!
5. Faith Nisperos (ADMU)
This lady eagle is deadly. With her beautiful form and arm swing, her hits are almost always a point. This 5’11 spiker nabbed the 2nd Best Outside Hitter award and was the number one scorer in her team. She even had a 31-point masterpiece during the elimination round against the Adamson Lady Falcons. From her spikes, blocks, and to service aces, she is on her way to claiming the new queen eagle throne. Have faith in her and she will surely deliver with a bang!
6. Vanessa Gandler (ADMU)
Vanie definitely benefited from the two-year pause of the UAAP Volleyball tournament. She learned and developed a lot after her Season 81 output. We were surprised with her immense improvement both in her offense and defense. She reintroduced herself with her new approach, varied attacks, and consistent receives. Her back-row attack is really something to be afraid of! We are looking forward to seeing more of her in the coming tournaments.
7. Eya Laure (UST)
It’s Eya, what more can we say? She is lethal. This queen tigress should already go pro with her deadly serves, efficient blocks, steady receives, sure kills, and she can even SET. She was roaring in the court with her fighting spirit and fearless hits. A lot of people betted on her to be this season’s MVP but the race was just too tight. She also deserved it (really) but we know that there are greater things ahead of her. She recently graduated, but we hope she still chooses to continue her volleyball career.
8. Camille Victoria (UST)
Along with Eya, Camille helped UST secure their final four spot. She made a name for herself with her excellent performance this season. She stunned their opponents with her good kills and solid blocks. She is the second-leading scorer in the team and she also got that grit a true tigress should have. Although they fell short this time, UST will surely use the season break to prepare for their return to the finals.
Some of these players are just rookies and they are already this awe-inspiring. The future of Philippine volleyball holds a lot of promise — we might finally get that gold medal in the international scene. We just need to continuously train and develop these ladies and we could once again carve a spot in the SEA Games or even the Olympics!
Who’s your favorite UAAP volleyball star this Season 84? Share it in the comments below!