Lariba, Valdez lead 78th UAAP Athlete of the Year winners

ABS-CBN Sports on May 21, 2016 09:34 PM
Lariba, Valdez lead 78th UAAP Athlete of the Year winners
Olympic-bound table tennis star Ian Lariba of De La Salle and Ateneo de Manila volleybelle Alyssa Valdez share the 78th UAAP Athlete of the Year award with two other outstanding student-athletes.

Rio Olympics-bound Ian Lariba of De La Salle University won her second straight Athlete of the Year award she shared with three other outstanding student-athletes including women’s volleyball star Alyssa Valdez Saturday in the formal closing of the 78th UAAP Season at the Ang Bahay ng Alumni inside the University of the Philippines campus Saturday night.

Lariba, who was unbeaten in her five-year stint as DLSU’s women’s table tennis star, helped the Taft-based squad capture its back-to-back titles in the sport that keyed in the school’s return as general champion in the senior’s division.

The Cagayan de Oro native made history by gaining a golden ticket to the Summer Games with her impressive performance in last month’s 2016 ITTF-Asia Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Hong Kong.

She also wore the national colors last year in the Singapore Southeast Asian Games and in 2014 was part of Team UAAP-Philippines that participated in the ASEAN University Games.

Lariba like co-winners Valdez and tanker Jessie Khing Lacuna of Ateneo de Manila weren’t able to receive the award.

Only Adamson softball team’s star slugger Queeny Sabobo was present in the event.

“Masaya po ako kasi kahit na po hindi ganoon kasikat ang sport ko nabibigyan pa rin kami ng recognition,” said the 21-year-old national softball team member.

The Negros Occidental native collected this season’s MVP, Most Home Runs, Most Batted in, Best Slugger and Finals MVP recognitions while steering the Lady Falcons to a six-peat.

Sabobo, a graduating Physical Education student, played for the national team that won a gold medal in the 28th Singapore Southeast Asian Games and will again suit up for the tricolors in the World Cup in Canada in June.

Lariba, Valdez and Sabobo all played their last playing year for their respective schools. Valdez and Sabobo got the award for team sport while Lariba and Lacuna were feted with the title in individual sports.

The third year Lacuna had under his belt this season seven gold medals with four record-breaking feats.

Outgoing Season 78 president Dr. Michael Tan of UP will then hand the league flag to incoming Season 79 president Fr. Ermito de Sagun of University of Sto. Tomas.

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