Alyssa fans turn out in huge number
Team Puso led by V-League Reinforced Conference season MVP and 1st Best Outside Spiker Alyssa Valdez (fourth from left, kneeling). Also in photo are League Commissioner Tony Boy Liao (extreme left), Cito Martelino (extreme right), general manager of the organizing Sport Vision, and Puso coaches Nes Pamilar and Jasper Jimenez.
Expectedly so, fanatic followers of Alyssa Valdez, unarguably volleyball’s only superstar to date in terms of mass appeal, showed up in droves for the Shakey’s V-League benefit All-Star Games Sunday at Philsports Arena, mostly dressed in blue tees carrying her name or that of the fans club organized in her honor.
Not even the Ateneo Phenom’s late appearance for the starting ceremony could make her hordes of supporters like her less or find fault with it. In fact, they arrived very early for the benefit event for the victims of Typhoon Lawin. They knew their idol, whom they found nowhere to be seen while the fans-players interaction was already going on, would show up come hell or high water.
“She’s already on her way to Philsports,” said Leahliza dela Cruz knowingly.
If she said so, better believe her. It is generally acknowledged that she, as president of Alyfinity, has a hotline to Valdez, the one person besides her family who’s occupying her waking hours.
Just a portion of the blue-shirted fans of Alyssa Valdez who came in huge number for the benefit games.
“It’s unthinkable for Alyssa to stand up a charity event like this,” she declared firmly as she distributed blue T-shirts lettered with ‘Alyfinity. We care.’ “This special tee,” pointing at the one she was wearing, “is what we wear when we come out to support charity events involving Alyssa. This is the third time this year that we are supporting our idol on such an occasion, the other two being outreach projects.”
Since the announcement of the All-Star Games a week before the event, dela Cruz said she had been busy attending to requests for ringside ticket reservations and accepting money from Alyfinity members through Facebook Messenger.
She stopped at request No. 275, although more were coming in.
“Namumula na ang aking mata sa katututok sa Facebook Messenger at nakakatakot humawak ng malaking pera,” said the businesswoman from Tanay, Rizal.
Not to mention that she was also deluged by requests for those special Alyfinity T-shirts meant for charity events involving Valdez.
Come crunch time, a lot, lot more endured hours of queuing up for tickets at Philsports, beating one another for the coveted ringside seats that would give them the rare opportunity of meeting all the members of the four All-Star selections face-to-face for autographs and selfies.
No bashing, please
Organized six years ago by a group of teachers, Alyfinity now has a Facebook membership of 25,000, down from 38,000 some months back. Sandra Magtalas, a housewife from Pasig and a member of the Alyfinity admin, said they had to weed out those members who had joined the fans club for purposes other than to support Alyssa.
“Many were after inside information which they can use to bash Alyssa with in the social media using different names,” Magtalas continued. “Alyssa herself forbids us to bash other players. As much as she does not bad-mouth or stare down an opponent on the court, we members of Alyfinity do not criticize other players on the social media.”
The first set of the men’s All-Star Game was already going on when fans broke into tumultuous screams and shrieks at the sight of Valdez, Amy Ahomiro and Denden Lazaro entering the perimeter of the court and taking the seats close to the railing. Primarily, maybe, to let the crowd know she had arrived after all.
It was heartwarming to see even little kids shouting out Valdez’ name in pure pleasure.
Louise Manuelle Langbid, 3, of Imus City, Cavite, and Jaimellie Perez, 6, could not be restrained from jumping in joy.
Louise’s mom, Maymay Langbid, 33, whose husband is a seaman, and Jaimellie’s, Lilian Estuita Perez, 31, married to an OFW now in Doha, Qatar, said they have been fans of Valdez since her UAAP days.
Also sighted among the crowd cheering every move of Valdez on and off the floor were Muslim women, including Jamira Macabantog of Danao del Sur and Asnaira of Cotabato, who refused to give her family name. But yes, Asnaira admitted, they came to the All-Star Games for Valdez and Valdez alone.
Valdez’ followers just generally enjoyed seeing their superstar play in person, but a few demanded perfections from her. A group of five taking the FX Tamaraw bound for Megamall after the All-Star Games couldn’t take it that Alyssa and Team Puso did not win over Team Palaban led by Michelle Gumabao, even heaping the blame on their idol’s non-performing teammates but not daring to fault the Phenom.
Goes to show that the lady from Batangas who carried Ateneo to back-to-back championships in her UAAP playing years could do no wrong in the eyes of her adoring legions of fanatically loyal fans.
Take it from coach Roger Gorayeb of the National U Lady Bulldogs. He thinks only Alyssa Valdez has the power to pack a playing venue on her star appeal alone.
No, make it superstar appeal.