PVL: Beware of Del Palomata
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 03, 2018 12:29 PM
Pocari-Air Force Lady Warrior Del Palomata has so vastly improved that she is now considered a very legitimate threat from her middle turf.
Del Palomata incurred the great dislike of many a fan when before playing her first match in Manila for Philippine Air Force in 2016, she unblinkingly declared that she wanted to face the likes of superstar Alyssa Valdez on the court.
For the multitude of fans of Philippine women’s volleyball’s phenom, the dare was pure and simple sacrilegious.
They didn’t know, though, that the six-foot-three daughter of a fishpond owner in Batan, Aklan, was at the time only making the statement to show she didn’t feel nervous at all but was simply thrilled to play against the Manila-trained superstar and stars in an air-conditioned venue on a rubber-surfaced court.
As it turned out, Palomata had a forgettable performance in her first Sports Vision-organized V League.
She showed much promise in the opening season of the Premier Volleyball League the following year in 2017.
This year she returned for the PVL Reinforced Conference when Pocari Sweat teamed up with Air Force, her mother team, with a bang. Not three months later at the start of the ongoing PVL Open Conference, she reinvented herself as a really formidable threat from the middle where she operates.
What makes her hazardous to the opposition is the fact that as towering as she is at 6 foot 3, her lanky body is as coordinated as those of shorter players. Thus, she is lighter of feet and has the ability to jump higher than players her height or taller.
Palomata has developed net smarts as well besides her strong attacking and blocking.
What she has become now, a feared middle blocker, she says she owes to coach and Air Force T/Sgt Jasper Jimenez and her teammates.
“Hindi nagsasawa si coach Jasper na turuan akong maging mahusay na player. Talagang nagtiyaga si coach as akin. Cool lang siya kahit magkamali ako nang magkamali. Never na uminit ang kanyang ulo.”
She is also doubly thankful that her Air Force teammates always motivate her to be better.
“Sa training at sa laro, lagi silang nakaalalay sa akin. Laluna si Ate Wendy (setter Wendy Semana), tinuturuan rin niya ako kung paano atakihin ang bola.”
Airwoman 2nd Class Del Palomata couldn’t believe she would become a good volleyball player.
In grade school in Aklan, she started out as a sprinter (100 and 200m) and high jumper. She was playing as a center for her high school basketball team when La Salle-Bacolod recruited her and trained her in volleyball this time because of her unusual height.
Fans who had thought her as boastful now fear for their idols when the latter face Palomata at the net.
“Marami pa akong dapat na matutunan kahit marami nang nagsasabi na malaki ang hinusay ko sa paglalaro,” the college undergrad admits.