Gusto kong ipakita kung sino ang mas malakas sa aming dalawa -- Dell Palomata on Jaja Santiago

Mark Escarlote on May 31, 2016 10:08 AM
Air Force rookie Palomata calls out Jaja Santiago
Gusto kong ipakita kung sino ang mas malakas sa aming dalawa -- Dell Palomata on face off with National University's Jaja Santiago

National University’s Jaja Santiago’s dominance in the middle position might have finally found a stiff challenge with the arrival of an unheralded but very confident player from the Visayas.

Dell Palomata, a 6-foot-3 Air Force recruit, called out the 6-foot-5 Lady Bulldog making their June 15 match in the 13th V-League a collision of titans worth looking forward to.

But it's not all talk for Palomata.

The University of St. La Salle-Bacolod product has the numbers to back her talk.

Palomata led the Jet Spikers in silencing the crowd-favorite Bali Pure Purest Water Defenders, 25-23, 14-25, 25-19, 25-16, last Monday as she made her presence felt with an impressive debut.

Playing for the first time in the Big City, Palomata pounded the defense of Bali Pure with 10 kills, unleashed her sharp missiles from the service line to end up with five aces and had one kill block for a 16-point output.

But her intimidating presence in front of the net gave Air Force the defensive stability in front of the net.

Too bad Palomata missed a chance to take on her idol Alyssa Valdez, who skipped Bali Pure’s first game together with Grethcel Soltones because of their European tour.    

"Oo nga po sayang nga po eh (wala siya sa game),” said the 20-year old middle hitter from Kalibo, Aklan. 

“Gusto ko siya kalabanin at saka si Jaja Santiago," added Palomata, who said that she learned to play competitive volleyball in college.   

Palomata may have missed a chance to challenge the power of the reigning three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Valdez – at least in the eliminations – but she is pumped up thinking about the one-on-one matchup with Santiago.

The incoming fourth year Interdisciplinary Studies major made a bold statement in calling out the Lady Bulldog. She wanted to measure up with arguably the country’s tallest and most talented volleybelle in the middle position.

"Siya (Santiago) 'yung talagang gusto kong makalaban. Siya 'yung gusto kong ipakita kung sino ang mas malakas sa aming dalawa," said the versatile player who can also shift to an open hitter position if needed.

Palomata admitted that she had jitters playing for the first time in a big and air conditioned playing venue but when she stepped inside the court, her focus was to help the returning Jet Spikers win.  

And she doesn’t care about the opposition, even about their stars.   

"Opo, medyo may kaba po sa akin, pero nawala po kasi noong pumasok na ako kaya ko naman po kahit sino ang kalaban ko diyan,” she said. “Hindi ako nagpapatinag kahit star pa sila, kaya ko naman silang higitan eh.”




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