Mark Alfafara leads a God-centered life
Mark Escarlote on May 22, 2017 09:01 PM
Mark Gil Alfafara (No. 10) with Cignal TV teammates (from left to right) libero Sandy Domenick Montero and setters Glacy Ralph Diezmo and Vince Mangulabnan. (Photo by Eileen Araza)
Twice or thrice, Mark Gil Alfafara sent the ball long in his first Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference match for his new team, the Cignal TV HD Spikers.
Acknowledged as one of the country’s most powerful wing attackers and servers to date, the 23-year-old marketing management graduate from the University of Santo Tomas blamed it in equal parts on the almost six-month hiatus following his last tournament, the now defunct Spikers’ Turf where he helped the Philippine Air Force Jet Spikers win the Reinforced Conference, and on the slight weight he had gained.
But when he found his range a few rotations later, the strong-armed native of Purok Malakas, General Santos City, was again his fearsome self on the court. It was almost like hearing a clap of thunder when his palm connected to the ball spike after spike and service after service and when the ball directly landed on the rubber-surfaced court.
In the end he logged a top-scoring 12 points, all on attacks, matching resident Cignal spiker Lorenzo Capate’s output built on eight hits, two blocks and two aces as the HD Spikers greeted their new coach, Oliver Almadro of the Ateneo Blue Eagles fame, with a straight-set victory over Instituto Estetico Manila, 25-19, 25-16, 25-22.
Mark Gil Alfafara will always be on a beastly mode when in action, feared and marked by the opposition, but off the court when he puts on his spectacles, the six-foot son of GenSan returns to his amiable persona and to what he calls his God-centered life.
Not that he is a bad guy when playing. On the contrary, he’s one of the nicest persons on the floor. He respects his teammates, the referees, and does not have mean words or obscene gestures for the other players on the opposite court.
“You can never go wrong if you put God at the center of your life; peace will come naturally to you if you do that,” says the son of a Protestant pastor.
He claims he’s not a very religious person but by fully accepting God in his life without question, he says he knows he’ll always be guided to the straight and narrow path by the Unseen Hand.
That unwavering faith in his Creator had armed him with the courage, he says, to fly to Manila and, without invitation, join the then ongoing summer varsity tryouts at the UST gym.
Who was to know that this guy who just walked into the tryouts would later reap several UAAP awards for his chosen school?
On his freshman year with the Growling Tigers, he caught the last of UST’s four straight UAAP championships under the mentorship of coach Emil Lontoc. It proved to be the last title as well of the Espana-based crew, but Alfafara, showing how hard he had tried to snare another big one for UST, stood a cut above the rest individually by being crowned the league’s best scorer, best blocker and best server.
He made more noise on his fifth and final playing year when he was named UAAP 75 Season MVP.
Alfafara continued to shine in the commercial leagues. He was chosen conference MVP and Best Open Spiker when his team, the PLDT Ultra Spikers, ruled the Open Conference in the inaugural season of Spikers’ Turf in 2015.
The next year he suited up for Philippine Air Force and played a key role as the Jet Spikers helped themselves to the Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference title.
With his explosive start in the Reinforced Conference of the PVL, another groundbreaking project of Sports Vision backed up by Asics as its official league partner and Mikasa as its official game ball, Alfafara again bids fair to secure at least one of the individual awards up for grabs at the end of the season-opening conference.
Not to mention that Alfafara, affectionately called Buboy by friends and teammates, has scored a 100% batting average in every Sports Vision-organized tournament he took part in. In two years of participation in such tournaments he won two team championships.