Now a legit sportscaster, Denden Lazaro reminisces her student-athlete days
Barry Viloria on Feb 20, 2017 02:24 PM
…and how the ‘Down The Line’ host used volleyball to get over her insecurities. (Photos courtesy of Lazaro)
We thought she had already left the volleyball scene after exiting the UAAP with two epic championships. But after a year of trying her luck in med school and more, Ateneo’s former kickass libero Denden Lazaro is now back on our screen more than ever as a certified sports journalist. (We at ABS-CBN Sports are especially overjoyed about her hosting our debut series, “Down the Line!”)
“It poses as a huge challenge for me,” Lazaro says about her newfound profession—she currently fronts the “Down the Line” with the more veteran Anton Roxas. The two are on a roll interviewing star volleyball players on the show with the season ongoing. Lazaro also continues to be a sports analyst on ABS-CBN S+A.
“But I'm really enjoying it. I'm really working hard to improve on this new venture, and I've got great people around me to guide and help me grow! I'm also really thankful for this wonderful opportunity and, of course, the trust being given to me.”
Ep. 3 of 'Down The Line' is up! And yes, that's me wearing a La Salle jersey 😶 but for very good reason! Because for this episode, we got DLSU's Kim Fajardo and Kianna Dy as our special guests! 🏹 Check it out at http://sports.abs-cbn.com/volleyball/videos/2017/01/31/down-the-line-ep-03-jan-31-10312 #DownTheLinePH 🏐💻
Truth is, no matter how she is in touch with the sport through the panel, Lazaro still misses playing the sport, “a whole lot. I love volleyball, I cannot live without it. “ She specifies, “I miss playing for Ateneo, the rivalries, my teammates—too many to mention!”
Hence, Lazaro and her former teammates still meet up once in a while. “But,” she sighs, “it's really hard cause everyone has her own thing going on.”
For those who just now are getting on the volleyball craze, Lazaro can be considered one of the country’s best liberos decorated with various Best Receiver and Best Digger awards. She has ruled both the UAAP and the Shakey's V-League, which propelled her to immense fame next to her equally popular batchmates Alyssa Valdez and Ella de Jesus.
Lazaro breathed volleyball, we all know that story. She’s always led the student-athlete life, playing the same sport since grade school back at the Colegio San Agustin in Makati. Driven by nostalgia, she actually shows us a #throwback photo of her younger days in volleyball.
“This photo was during our NCR meet when I was still in high school. If I remember correctly this was in TIP! I think this photo was taken after one of our games,” she enthuses.
But along the memories of her sporty beginnings, her insecurity over the other girls at school came to mind. Lazaro used to be one of the boys, comparing herself to the rest of the girls whom she thought were “prettier and more presentable.” She struggled with it for a while before learning to just focus her attention to herself.
“I was always low-key and kept to myself most of the time. But there were times that people would tease or say bad things about me, so I learned to shrug them off because I know that what they were saying weren't true,” she declares.
“I stopped comparing myself to others. I realized that I was unique and beautiful in my own way!”
Volleyball became her biggest refuge and source of strength, where she obviously shone. It felt like it was ingrained in her system that even when she enrolled in med school after the UAAP, she felt the need to come back.
“Being in med school was challenging mentally obviously, but it also took a toll on my physical health with sleepless nights and being in school the whole day. I had a hard time inserting workouts because I was in school the entire day. When I got home I had to study right away. I was not able to play competitive volleyball for a whole year. I was super out of shape and I felt that my body was so weak,” she recalls.
Lazaro’s return to the sport hasn’t been limited to just talking about it in the UAAP or the NCAA. She has signed up for Bali Pure last year, and who knows when she might just slip back into a jersey and showcase those Iron Eagle-signature digs again?