Meet the ‘heavy-duty’ girls of UAAP 79 women’s volleyball
With their height, size, and ‘dating,’ these girls easily overpower their opponents. Watch further this season as they make their mark more felt! (Photo taken from Singh's Instagram: @jsinggggh)
What a good time to be alive for volleyball players and fans alike. In the UAAP alone, the sport is so celebrated that venues have graduated from small gymnasiums to locations where international musicians would frequently stage their concerts, and careers right after the collegiate league have become stable and glamorous our favorite athletes don’t have to look for another moneymaking sideline. While there have been many factors that have given way to rise of the sport, a considerable chunk of it is on the lady athletes. We have learned to love each of these players, who aside from their bravura and pure determination to succeed are also interesting subjects off the court.
Fittingly, Women’s Month is happening right in the middle of the heated UAAP women’s volley season. There’s nowhere in time we could be easily commemorating our young heroines no matter their height, skin color, or any trait some narrow-minded bully would use against them than now. A few weeks ago, we made a list of some of the league’s most athletic players who have gone on to break the “volleybelle” stereotype. This time, we bring you the "big girls" of the UAAP—“lean” isn’t exactly the right word to describe them physically, but it could be when you talk about what kind of presence they bring to the court!
Jorelle Singh, NU Bulldogs
People have begun trusting NU players more even with Jaja Santiago momentarily at the bench, and it’s because of Singh. The third year open hitter delivers unstoppable power in her spikes, landing her the 14th spot in the race of top scorers halfway through the season. What’s more inspiring about Singh is her story: She has been on scholarship since grade school, and even skipped a month of training some time ago after discovering possibly career-stopping a heart ailment. These two things, she only used later on to make NU a dark horse in the competition.
Dimdim Pacres, UST Tigresses
España might have Cherry Rondina and EJ Laure as its best scorers but not far behind is Mandaue-hailing third year player Pacres. The first syllable of her name comes off as an effortless onomatopoeia every time the panel recaps her hitting the ball. Pacres actually just got back to the lineup after being demoted last year—Coach Kung Fu Reyes obviously stirred it right as she’s now one unstoppable force for UST.
Justine Dorog, UP Lady Maroons
UP fans who call themselves “Dorogistas” might already be missing Dorog’s running attacks. Dorog, who was half of DIiliman’s power duo of Cebuana rookies along with Isa Molde last year, has observably trimmed down just in time for her new libero role this season. Presently, Dorog is the fifth Best Receiver in the league.
Kat Tolentino, Ateneo Lady Eagles
At 6’2”, the broad-shouldered Tolentino already threatens—and it’s somehow unfortunate for Ateneo fans to only have witnessed her putting all that height and strength to work this season. The reason? The Fil-Canadian suffered through three ACL tears before making her ‘debut’ in UAAP Season 79. The wait was obviously worth it, as Tolentino has been handy in the offense department. She is presently the fourth best spiker in the league, and trailing behind fan faves Mich Morente, Jho Maraguinot, and Bea de Leon as the team’s top scorers.
May Luna, DLSU Lady Archers
Never mind La Salle’s already stellar starting lineup, Luna is recently making waves as one of Taft’s next biggest stars next to Tin Tiamzon.
Jerrili Malabanan, FEU Lady Tamaraws
Now on her junior year, the shy, California-hailing Malabanan is beginning to unfurl her wings as one of FEU’s most reliable players. She is currently the Tams’ fourth best scorer and the team’s thoroughbred when it comes to the serving department. The mountainous Malabanan was actually bullied back in high school, but has since used her height and all as an on-court advantage.
Kath Arado, UE Lady Warriors
Arado makes use of her 5'2" height as a defense advantage, something she has greatly utilized this season as she is currently the Top Digger and second Best Receiver. She was recently included in the pool of the national team lineup, something no one questioned based on her stats manning the backlines.