How much does now-working girl Carmela Tunay miss volleyball?
Barry Viloria on Jan 06, 2017 03:35 PM
It’s still hard for the former UST star player to report at the V-League sometimes, she admits. (Photos taken from Tunay's Instagram account: @carmelaloo08)
It used to be just every second half of the season that we’d see Carmela Tunay’s face on television, as the former UST star athlete was one of the most recognized players. But for Season 79’s first half, we’ve got a good glimpse of her on the screen, and more. Tunay, 21, recently took a hosting post at Upfront at the UAAP. This introduced us to a complete different side of her, but it wasn’t something unexpected for a Communication Arts graduate.
“So, ito ina-apply ko yung course ko sa broadcasting. At least, nagagamit ko kaagad habang fresh pa siya sa utak ko,” she explains.
The working girl
Tunay graduated from tertiary school in 2015. She pursued a Marketing Masters degree also at UST, and with it she took on Season 78 as her last. Drama (because, well, ‘twas her last chance to play in the collegiate ranks, only reaching one Final Four appearance in all of her five years) and injury (still remember her nose fracture that sidelined her in the V-League?) almost marred her last playing year. Still, the athlete—a big UST fan since her high school days at St. Paul College, Makati—got through it all, taking with her a humongous following upon graduation. She would return to serve her fans and the rest of the UAAP community although in a different light.
While studying, Tunay also started on hosting but for a different network. She then played for the Cignal HD Spikers for a while, but eventually stopped for her other earlier-set endeavors. ABS-CBN S+A’s Upfront came, and it would become her new and biggest priority. She would shuffle with the rest of the hosts, following the job’s part-time nature and the pre-game show’s format. The schedule was light, figured the former student-athlete whose training- and school-filled schedule often had her on her toes.
“First time ko lang na uuwi ako agad ng bahay, eh, kasi naka-dorm ako dati. Tapos, wala na akong gagawin masyado pag di ako on-call sa Upfront. Hindi ako sanay,” she says.
Thus, Tunay went on to find something more to do but she didn’t look that far for another sideline. One of the brands the “influencer” previously endorsed was that of drinkable coconut water—she thought, why not fully go with the job responsibility and be the brand’s representative? Just in time, the same company was also looking for one at that time. Tunay, of course, was a shoo-in.
She describes her job, “It’s a startup brand. What we do is consign sa mga gyms. I handle gyms and fitness centers as my accounts.”
Tunay has relatively more control over her time, although some days go on really full with the number of clients involved.
“I make sure na naka-plot yung sched ko the night before pa pero ayun i-checheck ko sa umaga kung saan ba ako pupunta today. Gigising ako ng mga 7, kasi mga 9 nag-iikot na ako. Paggising, mag-aayos ako tapos mag-checheck ako ng emails. Ayun iikot ako tapos minsan Mandaluyong to Makati, basta iba-ibang places.”
“Then, minsan may feature shoot pa na kasabay for Upfront, so it’s either male-late ako or minsan kailangan ko na maaga umalis kasi may pupuntahan pa ako, but they understand naman.”
Even without volleyball in her new daily timetable, Tunay still makes sure she works out “kasi sa TV nakakataba tapos nawalan pa ako ng volleyball and para rin if ever na may kumuha sa akin na team or ganyan, hindi ako masyado mapag-iiwanan.”
The athlete in her
As her schedule both as host and brand representative has been made mostly convenient for her, Tunay is frank about all the fun she’s having right now on her two jobs.
“Na-enjoy ko naman kasi na-a-apply ko undergrad and MA ko sa mga ginagawa ko ngayon.” She adds, “Sabi rin ‘yon ng coaches namin before na ‘yong mga employers daw gusto nila ‘yong mga student-athletes na graduate kasi ‘yon nga, magaling mag-multitask and disiplinado.”
That is, until you hear her break into a moment of reminiscence. The reason: What else but volleyball? As a former Tigress fan who had worked hard to get to the UST lineup in her youth, she now finds it difficult to take the sport out of the picture. A V-League talking head stint with the UST team involved, for example, would almost always get to her.
“Yung pinaka-nami-miss ko talaga is yung volleyball.” It’s a piercing admission. “There was a time na nag-cover ako ng UST game na hindi naman dapat. Actually, hindi naman nila ako ini-sched for UST games, so that time unavailable si Ate Ivy (Remulla). I had to fill in for her. ‘Yong coverage, okay naman, pero alam ‘yong ‘di ba nagsasalita ako tapos alam mo ‘yong ‘di ko naman sinasabi pero kinakantyawan ako ng partner ko na, ‘Si Mela, napapapalakpak’?”
“So, sinabi ko na lang sa kanya na wag niyang sabihin. Pero ayun, ang hirap na ma-detach sa volleyball, especially to UST lalo na pag nakikita ko (yung team).”
Tunay has left the sport for a few months now, and with her plate presently full because of work, it has left her wondering if she would ever return to the sport.
“Alam mo ‘yung dalawa yung na-fi-feel ko? Parang, okay, masaya ako mayroon na akong work pero habang nakikita ko sila, na”—she drops a swear word—“Magagawa ko pa ba ‘yon? Knowing myself, hirap ako magpa-kondisyon, eh. Kailangan talaga tuloy-tuloy ako (na maglaro) kaya kaunting stop lang, parang feel ko ang hirap nang bumalik.”
“Kaya ayun, naiinggit ako. Minsan nag-wo-wonder ako na parang gusto kong bumalik.”
She says in jest that what would discourage her from coming back to the sport is the grueling training, “Feel ko mamamatay ako pag nag-training ako.”
The volleyball world recently rejoiced over the return of another UST star Jessey de Leon to the sport. Tunay’s former teammate previously told that she had left the sport to pursue her architecture career, until the announcement of her joining the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors last December. As for Tunay, we have yet to see how she’ll play her cards out.
Getting a spot in the sportscasting world proves to be something extraordinary for former athletes like her, given the abundance of full-fledged hosts who can easily bag a stint elsewhere. It’s obviously Tunay’s sports know-how and influence as a youth icon that have given her an edge to be a more legit sports reporter. Mention some of those who have graduated from the arena onto life on set like Gretchen Ho and Mozzy Ravena (former volleyball players), Gretchen Fullido (former UP swimmer), and Bea Fabregas (former UP tennis player), and you’ll easily see where this will take her. This has obviously led to her to other gigs; one of which was hosting the premiere night of a Metro Manila Film Festival 2016 entry.
“Kasi ito naman ‘yong opportunity. Naisip ko na i-grab muna ‘to kasi hindi naman lagi na may mag-aalok sa akin. Syempre, sa broadcasting kasi iba eh. Fresh grad ako tapos alam mo ‘yon, kahit papaano (pwede pang gawin ito kasi) matunog ka pa?” says the former ABS-CBN S+A intern.
Tunay has not much to say about what former athletes like her should choose upon graduation—volleyball or an entirely different career? She herself didn’t apply her own piece of advice because of some difficulty, nevertheless it’s still something to inspire current college players whichever league they may come from:
“Alam mo nakausap ko si Coach Ronnie Magsanoc about it. Actually, iyon rin naman ‘yong stand ko nung sa kanya, na syempre tapusin mo muna yung studies mo. After that, kung doon ka mag-decide kung maglalaro ka or mag-wo-work ka na, I think dapat maglaro ka pa muna kasi yung katawan mo naman hindi siya forever na bata, at nasa kondisyon. As much as mama-maximize mo ‘yong parang nandun ka pa sa playing form mo, ‘doon ka muna kasi ang maganda lang naman diyan kapag tapos ka eh. Hindi naman mawawala ‘yung pinag-aralan mo, ‘di naman mawawala ‘yong degree mo, and at the same time yung discipline mo na makaraos ka nga ng student athlete, ‘di ba?”
“Kumbaga, kung work ‘yong iniisip mo wag mo muna masyado intindihin kasi mayroon ka nang fallback for as long as nakatapos ka naman.”