Proof that 2015 was the Year of Alyssa Valdez
On to her last year in the UAAP, our beloved Lady Eagle pretty much owned the year that was. Enter appropriate hashtag: #blessed. (Some photos taken from Valdez' Instagram account: @alyssa_valdez2)
There are a lot that volleyball fans need to be grateful for, especially in the past years, with the sport finally gaining ground and matching the more popular sport called—drum roll, please—basketball. And, like it or not, (well, we really like it that) it’s Alyssa Valdez who’s been leading the rest of the national, collegiate, and commercial volley heroines from taking out the sport from obsolescence and on to prominence! Twenty-fifteen, in particular, marked the Ateneo Lady Eagle’s biggest year yet—factoring in her career highs whether we’re talking sports, school, or showbiz.
Alyssa Valdez, sigh. Where do we even begin?
Here’s a review of what was the Year of the Phenom!
Then entering 2015, Valdez had just secured an international win for the Philippines—leading the national team to a bronze finish at the 17th ASEAN University Games in Palembang, Indonesia. ‘Twas the country's first international women's volleyball medal since the SEA Games in 2005.
Come January, Valdez led the Ateneo to a 16-0 sweep in the UAAP. The Lady Eagles faced fierce rivals DLSU at the finals. The season—which ended in March—turned out on a sweet(er) note for the Atenean, who just outdid herself by winning the MVP (making her a back-to-back awardee), Best Server, and Best Scorer honors! Crazy!
Valdez then went to accept her special award at the 2015 Philippine Sportswriters Association in February. Her date? Fellow Atenean sports star Kiefer Ravena—they were still “friends” then. Reportedly.
Then, there was graduation!
From sporty, Valdez shifted her image to right-on girly after being one MEGAStyle.ph’s (digital) cover girls. Look at that charming smile!
Last May 1, Valdez captained the national team at the 2015 Asian Women's U23 Volleyball Championship, which served as the qualifiers to the FIVB Volleyball Women's U23 World Championship. The Philippines didn’t fare as well, after losing to rivaling powerhouse teams from Iran, Japan, and China. Meh.
But May didn’t stink in general for Valdez, who powered the PLDT Home Ultera Ultra-Fast Hitters at the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference. She nabbed the MVP and Best Outside Hitter awards.
In May, she also starred in another magazine feature, particularly for Metro's provocative Body Issue that got the biggest and sexiest sports stars together in one, well, big and sexy photo shoot!
By June, Valdez flew to Singapore for the SEA Games. She wasn’t just there to compete. She was also there as the country’s flag bearer, a “unanimous” decision by the Philippine Olympic Committee executive board. She replaced Incheon Asian Games wushu silver medalist Daniel Parantac, who had to beg off because of a scheduling conflict.
That month, she also had a birthday feast at a fast food chain with her fan club Alyfinity, which was sweet for her to attend given her hectic schedule!
In August, Valdez and the other half of #Team30, Ravena, launched their online reality show called Phenoms. There, they shared their athletic lifestyle as role models that they are. Speaking of showbiz, Philippine STAR later acknowledged our blue-blooded as one of 29 Most Bright & Beautiful, a group of “power women who are all changing our world.” We couldn’t agree more on why she was chosen next to the likes of Grace Poe, Karen Davila, and Liza Soberano!
Valdez, together with fellow UAAP 77 women's volleyball champs Dennise Lazaro and Amy Ahomiro, got physical at the cover of Chalk’s Anniversary Issue. The theme? Girl power, of course!
Ateneo saw defeat at the Shakey’s V League Collegiate Conference at the start of October, after losing to NU in the finals. Our baby was in tears, later saying that the loss should shake the team like a wakeup call. She was crowned MVP in the conference, though!
October truly turned out to be bittersweet for Valdez, who was getting back to the sands at the UAAP women’s beach volleyball event with Bea Tan—only to settle for third place. Hey, it still counts!
That month, Valdez and a few other volleybelles also attended the 41st PBA opening ceremonies--as muses. What did we say about volleyball eclipsing basketball again? The face of Philippine women's volleyball is literally stealing the spotlight at a man's hoops tournament!
At the end of October, Valdez and Ravena went public about a courtship that was cooking! It’s been a puzzle among KieFly fans, who finally got an answer when the two guested on talk show Tonight with Boy Abunda. Kief gave a resounding “Yes!” when asked by the host if he was in love with the volleybelle. “I think connected lang kasi we experience the same things. ‘Yun talaga yung important as a student athlete kelangan mo ng someone na pareho kayo ng pinagdadaanan,” a tickled Valdez could only say back.
November saw Valdez having another cover with Chalk—her second for the year, and with Ravena at that! The two took on their first magazine cover together, like, physically. “We were the cover of UAAP Magazine, we were back-to-back. So, technically we were not together. Ito ‘yung talagang magkasama kami,” the Blue Eagle told us right after the magazine shoot. "It’s kind of weird kasi we actually rarely talked about being in the cover. Ngayon, nakakatuwa rin kasi ‘yung closeness namin, nadadala namin, makulit lang. Masaya rin talaga kasi it was something na we look forward din siguro!”
Valdez has had a back injury from the beach volley event prior, missing the eliminations at the Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference. But she quickly sought redemption, contributing 22 points to the Ultra-Fast Hitters against the Philippine Army Lady Troopers in the finals, and thus winning the crown. She also nabbed the Finals MVP award!
Then just before Christmas break, Valdez graced the launch of this year’s UAAP Magazine where she was the cover girl. This is her second cover for the annual issue, which had her go sexy AF to fit the Strength Special theme. Those abs, doe.
Before 2015 ended, however, Valdez made sure she gave thanks by giving back. She, together with his on-court partner (whut?) Ravena, fellow athletes, and friends, held a charity game of volleyball in Batangas. She could only thank the higher power for the good things she has gotten the past year. Thoughtful, right? In an optimistic New Year’s tweet, she could only say, “Thank you, Lord for (everything) the 365 amazing days. Looking forward to experiencing and exploring 2016. Cheers.”
From us (fanboys) here at ABS-CBN Sports, Alyssa, we would also like to thank you for your contributions to the sport!