Valdez on her last quest for UAAP beach volleyball crown
Mark Escarlote on Oct 10, 2015 12:23 AM
Siyempre your effort is there na so give your all and hopefully naman (maganda ang kalabasan) --- Alyssa Valdez
“O nakikita n’yo pa ba ako?”
Alyssa Valdez playfully jested while walking towards a group of reporters waiting for the Ateneo de Manila star under the shade of a tent that did give protection from the sun’s rays, but not from the sweltering heat that was amplified by the warm air that blew from the Manila Bay.
Dripping wet from a quick trip to the shower to cool off and shed the sand that stuck to her midday sun-kissed body, the Queen Eagle celebrated her return to UAAP beach volleyball with partner Bea Tan via a straight set win.
“I’m really lucky to play with Bea again. Bumalik siya to play for Ateneo sa beach volleyball. Ayun inspiration (ko) na rin siya siguro,” said Valdez.
It is the 22-year-old Valdez’s first appearance in the sand court since playing with the same partner in her rookie year back in Season 74.
The reigning UAAP indoor volleyball back-to-back Most Valuable Player admitted that she felt a bit rusty as the Lady Eagles made a quick work of University of the Philippines, 21-9, 21-19, Saturday at MOA SM by the Bay.
“Siguro si coach na lang ang dapat tanungin kung sa improvement (ko) sa game,” said, Valdez who was a reserve in the previous seasons. "Pero as an individual player parang mas gusto mo pang i-push, pero wala pa talaga akong play kanina.”
Known to be a powerful hitter on the taraflex mat, Valdez did struggle on the sands with her timing and movements.
“It’s different talaga sa beach volleyball. Iba yung treatment sa spiking, iba yung treatment sa blocking, defense din also. You really have to work double time and there’s the environment. (Naninibago) ako siyempre,” she said.
In her decorated collegiate career, Valdez has won two UAAP titles with Ateneo, crowns in the amateur league and countless individual citations. Only a beach volleyball trophy is missing from her collection.
She and Tan had a chance four years ago, but were denied by University of Sto. Tomas in three grueling matches.
But the humble crowd darling is quick to say that her focus is to play her role for the team and do her best for her school. Accolades will come if it is for her team to receive.
“I’m thinking lang na I have to play well and play for my teammate talaga,” she said. “I’m not aiming for anything I just want to play better every day. Siguro for Bea also and coach Parley (Tupaz).”
“Siyempre your effort is there na so give your all and hopefully naman (maganda ang kalabasan),” she added.
Looking at the level of competition, Valdez knows that she will need to step up and jell more with Tan to get results.
“Grabe parang matagal nang naglalaro ng beach volleyball ang lahat sobrang galing,” Valdez said. “Ayun e, we’re going to fight for our school e. So kailangan ibigay mo na’ng lahat.”
After the interview, Valdez left the group of reporters and headed towards the locker room as throngs of her fans, kept off the play area by metal barricades, shouted her name.
She gave them a quick smile of acknowledgement.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles