Get to know: UP courtside reporter Niņa Alvia
Barry Viloria on Sep 07, 2015 06:15 PM
Possibly the youngest to take on the job, this ICA alumna is more than her pretty face and charming demeanor
UP’s newest courtside reporter Niña Alvia is 17, not yet 18—the minimum age requirement to get the much coveted job. At the press con of #UAAP78 a week ago, event host TJ Manotoc introduced her last for the best reasons: She is possibly the youngest ever to take on the position. True, her age is just one of many risks that ABS-CBN Sports + Action has taken in choosing her. But Niña—understandably shy with her sheepish smile, wandering eyes, and really cute, cute face—is already showing confidence, hoping to match the poise of her predecessors who have proven themselves on the job way, way back—Gretchen Fullido, Riki Flores, Trish Roque, Bea Fabregas.
Niña was just on her first weeks in college when she decided to apply for the job. Blame her dad, who introduced her to the idea when she was still a freshman in high school at Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA).
“My dad pointed to the courtside reporters on TV, and he was like ‘Oh, you can do that, too!’ I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or he was serious about it. But I took it seriously and that became my college goal,” she narrates.
Niña is here now to fulfill that—let’s call it—prophecy. From the auditions (which required at least three screenings) followed by workshops (we’ve seen one of them—it was held at a mini chamber with the ABS-CBN Sports + Action anchor, directors, and production peeps closely watching and supervising!) to the actual games, being a courtside reporter is quickly spiking her college experience.
But Niña knows that her young age won’t help spare her from the nature of her work, and is thus taking all these in with no hint of triviality. Before getting the job, she watched the games on YouTube (back in high school, she patronized La Salle in basketball) and observed the spiels of past courtside reporters online. She also takes notes from those who have already had experience; in her first game last Saturday, for example, she kept former Maroon courtside girl and “idol” Gabby Dario beside her for some advice and suggestions on her reports while she scurried in between takes. She also goes to the UP Gymnasium to bond with the players, immersing herself more and more—as part of the job.
If you’re curious about where Niña gets her confidence, it’s from her experience in amateur modeling since her sophomore year in high school. It was also when she tried out blogging and fashion (check her out on Instagram, and visit I Know Write Manila, a blog “for teens, by teens” that she helped found with other young bloggers!). The formerly “scared-of-crowds” girl also joined a public speaking club, of which she would be later be vice president.
Niña knows her sports, too, having been part of the football varsity in ICA. Before that, she was a gymnast and a dancer as well.
Right now, Niña is aiming to graduate from her two-year course (Certificate in Sports Studies) and get a bachelor’s degree right after. Her post-college plans? Still a little hazy, but a pre-med course is the ultimate goal.
As for the courtside job, Niña—who has yet to turn 18 this December—is out to prove that age is just a number.
“Everything I am learning in UP and from this job, they’re all still new,” Niña declares, her eyes—from wandering in between words—finally settle. “But I am trying to interpret it in my own way, so it’s gonna bring some personality in what I do.”