By Jim Bendoy
Chalk Campus Correspondent
Aside from basketball, volleyball is one of the most followed sporting events by any college student especially if we're talking about the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP.) We all love the intensity of every game, but another thing that gets us hooked is the players themselves who have made huge fans in us.
Because of the players’ different personalities in and out of the court, avid fans devoted their time following and supporting these ladies. But like any other good thing, these volleybelles graduate from their college heydays. Some choose completely different tracks while others pursue their passion for playing. To give you a glimpse of where they are now, here are some of the former players who are still making waves years after they snatched our hearts from their college courts.
Former DLSU Lady Spiker, Opposite Hitter
The word “angst” must be added to this 25 year-old stunner’s name! Her feisty blocks and spikes earned three championships, two Best Blocker awards, and a Finals MVP title during season 75 of UAAP.
Aside from her athletic abilities, Michele’s irresistible beauty took her to a new venture in life. Recently, her name was all over the news after joining Binibining Pilipinas and winning the Bb. Pilipinas Globe title. Michele is set to represent our country in Miss Globe 2018.
2. Bernadeth Pons
Former FEU Lady Tamaraws, Outside Hitter
After falling short in the finals against the DLSU Lady Spikers, the queen tamaraw is still proud of what she and her team has accomplished in the last season of UAAP. Her jumps are as high as her gratitude for thanking the FEU community.
Don’t worry FEU fans, you will still get to see this silver medallist skipper in Morayta! Pons will still march on the taraflex of UAAP but not as a player, but as a member of the coaching staff of coach George Pascua.
3. Nicole Tiamzon
Former UP Fighting Maroons, Outside Hitter
Some of you might be surprised when you see Nicole spike that volleyball with such a slim frame. There were games she had to set, dig, and, of course, spike. Her power comes from within – from her heart.
Apart from being suited up for BanKo Perlas Spikers in the Premiere Volleyball League, Nicole founded Spike and Serve, a project that eyes to encourage young volleyball enthusiasts to play the sport even in the grassroots level. Spike and Serve received recognition from United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations. Nicole is also the newest member of UNESCO Asia-Pacific Youth and Sport Task Force.
4. Jema Galanza
Former ADU Lady Falcons, Outside Hitter
This skipper from San Marcelino is definitely one of the most explosive attackers in UAAP. Standing at 5’7”, Jema can battle any defender in the net with strong spikes and wise placement shots.
After being ousted by La Salle in the semis, Jema’s UAAP career ended. But an opportunity opened wide because of her commending performance last season, and she was added to the roster of the forerunning team in PVL, the Creamline Cool Smashers.
5. Cherry “Sisi” Rondina
Former UST Golden Tigresses, Outside Hitter
Her leaping ability and her sheer power are just some of the reasons why people adore this Cebuana so much. Her never-say-die attitude inside the court earned her countless supporters. The cherry on top of her UAAP career was when she got the Best Scorer award last season with 296 points.
Recently, Sisi together with Dzi Gervacio made a giant bow down and gave the Philippines the first win in FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour against Lindsay Fuller and Kaley Melville of USA.
6. Jaja Santiago
Former NU Lady Bulldogs, Middle Blocker/Attacker
Her intimidating height and vicious first line attacks made Jaja one of the players every team should keep an eye on. This 6’5” giant is probably the tallest volleybelle in the Philippines.
After she graduated, Jaja will have a big shot to extend her volleyball stint in Japan! Jaja will try-out for two teams which she decided not to name yet. If she gets accepted, her dream to be on the international spotlight will surely come true.
7. Mika Reyes
Former DLSU Lady Spikers, Middle Blocker/Attacker
Mika is one of the jewels which established La Salle’s formidable peat in UAAP. Her presence and quickness gave their opposing teams a hard time to penetrate DLSU’s floor. Under Mika’s loaded belt, she astounds everyone with every point.
Recently, Mika opened a food business in Bulacan called Noodle House. From being a volleyball player to a business woman real quick! Rumors are also spreading that Mika will try joining beauty pageants just like her former teammate Mich Gumabao.
8. Alyssa Valdez
Former ADMU Lady Eagles, Outside Hitter
Is there anyone who doesn’t know the phenom? From being the most popular player in the UAAP to putting up a cutesy restaurant called Ally's All-Day Breakfast, Alyssa is definitely acing everything in life. She's also currently a PVL player as part of the Creamline Cool Smashers.
After graduating from UAAP, the lives of these players have changed on and off the court with bigger opportunities coming their way. But one thing is for sure, their gratitude for the sport they first fell in love with will always stay. Now, who do you miss the most? Let us know!
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