Past DLSU volleybelles next to Mika Reyes we totally admired
We pay tribute to some of the most unforgettable champion players of Taft. (Photo courtesy of Maraño)
On Saturday afternoon, the storied rivalry between Ateneo and La Salle in women’s volleyball continued with the two squads taking on each other for the first time this season. For fans of both squads, the match—that the Lady Eagles have conquered in four gripping sets—might have come off as something new and strange without Alyssa Valdez and Mika Reyes there to headline the event. The two poster girls, of course, have already used up their playing years and graduated last season. Unfortunately, they got too busy to attend today’s much-anticipated match.
Any Ateneo-La Salle volleyball match is always one that fans would cancel any supposedly less important appointment for. It’s intense and brutal as the athletes and the fans watching live or online would make it to be. Feeling senti about Valdez and Reyes and all the former volleyball players from each squad who have made the rivalry a timeless topic to talk about with your fellow fans? Following our report on the past Ateneo volleybelles apart from Valdez that we have come to love, this is the second part of our #throwback tribute to Taft’s most beloved athletes.
After the great Maureen Penetrante and Desiree Hernandez, Gumabao can be considered one of the most decorated products of La Salle in recent years. The two-time Best Blocker and Season 75 Finals MVP finished her four years of playing for Taft with a three-peat. Gumabao’s towering height, good looks, and sharpness made her transition to entertainment as part of a Pinoy Big Brother season rather easily. Despite dipping one hand in showbiz as host, online influencer, and events speaker, she has pretty much retained her on-court competitiveness by leading her former team Pocari Sweat to back-to-back V-League conference titles. She recently signed with new team United VC.
Gumabao basically had Gohing by her side until their last championship together. If Gumabao ruled the offense department, Gohing excelled in her saves and digs to make DLSU’s defense intact. After graduation, she has been in the corporate world and juggled it with blogging. She has since returned fulltime to volleyball via Pocari Sweat, winning titles with BFF Gumabao before the latter’s recent departure. She’s still got that blogging thing going—just check her doing product reviews and gymfies on her Instagram account!
We all know the reason why she’s been tagged “beast” by commentators, but we also know Tiyang is the complete opposite IRL. Maraño as a blocker and attacker was unstoppable back in her time, effortlessly earning herself two MVP awards apart from her titles with La Salle. She has since made it big in the commercial leagues, playing with that usual fervor whichever team she’s part of. The F2 Logistics ace player, like batchmate Gumabao, also enjoys speaking in talks and wreaking havoc on social media with partner-in-crime and fellow star volleybelle Rachel Daquis.
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman 📸 @photoshootphilippines Stylist: @empress_cher HMUA: @makeupbydiannedavid #photoshoot #photography #passion #photoshootphilippines
Tiu, then a champion player transferee from DLSU Dasma, spent a relatively shorter time with the Spikers. Yet, she was part of the three-peat-clinching team in Season 75. She then stayed on as the team’s student manager. Tiu eventually found her way back in the competition through the semipros—the former Generika Lifesaver is now being tapped to play for new team United VC. Other than volleyball, Tiu still maintained her being crushable with her on-point beauty shots and OOTD’s laid out on Instagram!
Like batchmate Reyes, Galang showed promise in her freshmen year. It went on—hence, a Rookie of the Year and an MVP award to adorn her career. Galang also finished her collegiate years with three titles. The F2 Logsitics player can now be spotted either at the Lady Spikers’ recent games supporting the girls, or anywhere she and girlfriend Bang Pineda can casually hang.
DLSU seems to be boasting of MVPs in their lineup year per year. Add Cruz to the roster—she held two MVP accolades during her time, including a championship in her UAAP swan song. She then taught English and Math at the International School of Manila, and has taken up her Masters in Special Education hoping to eventually put up her own SpEd center.
Before Reyes slipped into that “3” jersey, there was the frighteningly tall Alarca who reigned supreme in Season 73 as the Best Attacker, Best Server, and Most Valuable Player all at once. She was an alumna of UST, too, like Kim Fajardo.
Like mom Lydia de Vega, Mercado inherited the champion genes to make it as an athlete. Three UAAP titles and a runner-up finish were the fruits of her foundation. She’s also a heavily followed personality online now, as she keeps busy with Cignal and at her marketing communications job with Meralco.
There was a time when FEU ruled UAAP women’s volleyball, way up there with a twelve-peat back in the 40s-50s. La Salle, at nine championships across history, might have fewer of which altogether. But the Spikers becoming household name in women’s volleyball would eventually be a bigger deal, especially when they themselves were winning straight titles in recent years. Santos as a rookie was part of the championship team in 2002, and made sure they held on to until the next two years. She nabbed three Best Receiver awards, and left La Salle in 2009 with her fourth championship. Only at 5’4”, Santos--who is now a mom--was best remembered for her on-court leadership that the school later honored by hanging her #14 jersey at the high beams of Enrique Razon Complex in La Salle.