Mac and Kris: A pair of sweet-voiced court announcers
Kristine Alcantara and Mac Gepuela provide running accounts of the volleyball action taking place as court announcers, popularly known as barkers, in the Premier V League. (Photo by Nante Azores)
It is an aberration to describe the voice of a court announcer or barker as comforting.
But over in the Premier Volleyball League at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City, barkers Mac Gepuela and Kristine Alcantara give the gallery a running account of an ongoing match in a voice that could only be described as that.
Once upon a time fierce rivals in high school volleyball, Mac and Kristine now share barking chores in the PVL, speaking not with the usual shouting or booming voice of a barker that competes with, even detracts from, the excitement of the game.
No, these women of sports and substance neither shout nor scream. Their voice is such that they could report on the devastation wrought upon by the most terrible of earthquakes and you would still feel safe.
Archrivals in high school volleyball
In the early 90s Kris, a transferee from the Saudi Arabia International School in Dahran, played high school volleyball for Assumption San Lorenzo, starring in her team’s numerous clashes with the Mac Gepuela-coached Miriam College at the height of the two exclusive schools’ intense rivalry in the WNCAA.
Theirs is the equivalent of the Ateneo-La Salle fabled UAAP rivalry in women’s volleyball so that a loss is always a bitter pill to swallow for each school.
Mac recalls that one time when her generally dominant team lost to Kris and Assumption San Lo. Adding insult to injury was the fact that it was her hubby Louie, once president of the national governing body in volleyball, who had coached the Assumptionistas.
“I was so mad that I drove the family car from the playing venue without my husband,” says Mac laughing.
Mac finished kindergarten and high school in Maryknoll College, now Miriam College, and went to the University of the Philippines where she obtained a diploma in BS Psychology. She suited up for the UP varsity squad for only a year.
Kris studied in UP as well after her high school graduation. Although she didn’t play volleyball in Diliman, she joined the State U’s softball team for three years and ran the sprints (100 and the 4 x 100 relay) on her way to completing her BS Hotel and Restaurant Administration studies.
Apart from their passion for sports, Louie Gepuela, who sits now as the PVL’s referee supervisor, is the other common link between the two highly articulate women.
During Gepuela’s presidency in the Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association, his wife served as his administrative assistant as well as headed the secretariat for such international events as the Asian Youth and Asian Seniors Championships, the FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) Grand Prix and the Asian Volleyball Congress (AVC).
For the ninth Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and the 12th AVC Assembly held in Manila, Mac took in Kris as a member of the secretariat. At the same time, Kris worked as court announcer for that Asian Senior Women’s tournament.
As court announcer of the hugely successful Sports Vision-organized V League since its second season, it was also Mac who recruited Kris to share barking duties with her in the PVL, another groundbreaking event organized by Sports Vision with Asics as the official league partner and Mikasa as the official game ball.
Mac is short for Maria Aurora Caro-Gepuela.
Since becoming a volleyball coach in 1987, Mac, in her own words, says: “This is my passion. I enjoy developing people from nothing into something, from caterpillars into butterflies. I develop winners.”
Her accomplishments as a coach, graded Level 2 by the FIVB, attest to that.
From 1989 to the present, she has mentored the Miriam College Grade School varsity team to six major championships and a string of silver- and bronze-medal finishes, including a second-place finish in the first Asian Youth Games held in Guam in 2010.
In the same period, she guided the Miriam High School varsity squad to 13 major titles and 17 medal performances, including a bronze in the first Asian Youth Games.
From 2002 to 2012, the school’s varsity team reigned supreme in seven seasons of the WCSA under her tutelage.
Mac had a memorable stint in corporate volleyball as well. She made Far East Bank three-peat champions in the Inter-Bank Athletic Association tournaments in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
‘True love never dies’
So says Kristine Compuesto Alcantara, a multi-tasker like no other.
While the rest of the world are sound asleep, Kris is bent over her computer doing virtual work deep into the night so she could keep her daytime free to indulge her passion for volleyball either as a court announcer, watcher or player.
She still plays volleyball with and against her peers, all career-oriented like her, primarily for fun and exercise.
Kris work portfolio is exceptional.
Her skills include virtual administrative assistance (she has five years experience providing that to various clients in Australia and the US; content writing (she is an experienced writer, proofreader, and editor for personal and business websites); customer service and technical support (she has one year experience as a technical support specialist and customer service representative using phone, email, and chat in the Business Process Outsourcing industry; business development; and English online teaching.
She has already put in three years as a home-based online English teacher for Korean and Taiwanese students from seven years old to mid 50s.
There’s also her online catering business to take care of. After all she holds a diploma in hotel and restaurant management.
No matter how heavy her work load is, she will always find time for volleyball, her one true love.