Meet the ‘mean girls’ of UAAP 79 women's volleyball
They may not be the stereotypical perky, pretty-as-pink volleybelles we know, but that doesn’t make them any less competitive and interesting. Get to know these on-court queens who have easily impressed us this season with their sense of siga. (Photo taken from Fajardo's Instagram account: @kimfajardo9)
When “volleyball player” comes to mind, many of us think of a volleybelle, or, you know, some slender, ponytailed spiker who remains perfect in form as she’s in the air going for a hit. True, the presence of the Rachel Daquises and Michele Gumabao’s may have instilled in us this stupid stereotype of the volleyball player. But, of course, with everyone of us including athletes coming in various shapes and sizes, we already know better than to believe in these leaning-toward-misogynistic social constructs.
In the UAAP alone, next to the statuesque and kikay Majoy Baron’s and Maddie Madayag’s, we have these equally athletic, anti-girly young ladies who may have little to no care about having their eyebrows on fleek. Who cares if they don’t fit the cliché image of the “volleybelle?” Their eyes have always been on the prize that their swag blows us away every game—definitely not softies they’re total toughies who deliver with their excellent play!
Bernadette Flora, Adamson Lady Falcons
With only two years remaining in the league, veteran Jema Galanza has become San Marcelino’s poster girl who can really spike. This season, however, Flora is gradually making herself a trusty alternative, ranking as the second best scorer on the team.
Bea de Leon, Ateneo Lady Eagles
Some might have associated her on-court swag and off-court stylishness as something her rivals from La Salle normally radiate. Unapologetic for her being naturally fun-loving and “coño,” though, BDL has been one of the more reliable scorers and defenders of Ateneo. Which is why she remains a fan fave.
Kim Fajardo, DLSU Lady Spikers
Despite rumors of her skipping this UAAP season, Fajardo has stayed on hoping to eventually leave a back-to-back championship as her legacy in La Salle. Count on Alyssa Valdez’ best friend and former high school teammate for always giving the Spikers the best sets. She is currently the league’s second best setter, but fans know it’s still too early to tell if she’ll remain there or soar further to nab her nth “Best Setter” plum.
Remy Palma, FEU
Palma received a little hostility from DLSU fans last season after saying she had used some “mind games” toward fan favorite Mika Reyes at an FEU-DLSU Final Four match. But the Lady Tam has since explained that it’s all part of the game, with Reyes herself later agreeing like a true sport. Under Palma’s leadership and despite Gyzelle Sy’s departure, FEU remains intact this year.
Aiko Urdas, NU Lady Bulldogs
Urdas, already a threat in Season 75 as that year’s Rookie of the Year, has obviously grown past her career-upsetting ACL she suffered a while ago. Together with Jaja Santiago and Jorelle Singh forming NU’s triumvirate of power spikers, the “sweet”-scoring Urdas makes an anticipated act to catch game per game.
Roselle Baliton, UE Red Warriors
Bringing the “bomba” on the court last year, Baliton contributed a quick spike that sealed their first win that season. It was UE’s first in four years. Her comeback this year as a setter, though, got some fans and spectators #shookt. But Coach Francis Vicente has explained in previous interviews that it’s part of her and the team’s fine-tuning as they prepare for what’s ahead. If you’ve got an athletic 6’3”-standing setter, the rest of the teams should really watch out.
Tots Carlos, UP Lady Maroons
This Pampangueña already showed prowess last year as a rookie, and there still seems to be no stopping her this season. You can feel Diliman hungry for a championship after decades of drought, with Carlos among others leading the previously undefeated team with her spikes. IRL, though, she displays contrast with her contagious laughter, clownish antics, and generally easygoing vibe.
Ria Meneses, UST Lady Tigresses
Next to the ever-dependable Cherry Rondina and EJ Laure, Meneses makes a good scorer for España. The heritage must be showing now more than ever—the 6’1” middle blocker, of course, is the niece of retired baller Vergel Meneses.