Reyes, Maizo-Pontillas defend Baliton from bashers

Reyes, Maizo-Pontillas defend Baliton from bashers
University of the East setter Roselle Baliton found two supporters in Petron's Mika Reyes and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas.

University of the East setter Roselle Baliton has been the subject of ridicule and harsh criticisms of volleyball fans on social media right after her inclusion in the 25-man national women’s team pool.

The 6-foot-1 converted playmaker received tons of bashing after national team coach Francis Vicente gave her a slot in the pool alongside seasoned setters Kim Fajardo and Rhea Dimaculangan.

His decision was unacceptable to some rabid volleyball fans especially with the non-inclusion of Ateneo de Manila and former national team member Jia Morado. Baliton became the target of cyber-bullying, comparing the skills of Morado to that of the former middle blocker, deeming her undeserving of the spot.   

From text messages to comments on different social media platforms, Baliton received hurtful messages. 

But the third year player found a pair of defenders in Petron middle blocker Mika Reyes and veteran hitter Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, who are also part of the pool vying for slots in the Final 12 that will see action in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Reyes, who has her fair share of bashers on and off the court, gave her support to Baliton.

“Naaawa ako sa kanya kasi she doesn't deserve (the bashing). Alam naman natin na newbie siya as a setter. 'Di ba na-convert rin siya from middle blocker to setter,” said the 22-year-old former De La Salle star. “Hindi niya talaga deserve 'yun (panlalait).”

Like Baliton, Reyes is also a target of criticisms right when she was still playing for the Lady Spikers where she helped the Taft-based squad win three UAAP titles in her five-year tenure and up until her inclusion in the 2016 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship ‘Magnificent Seven’.  

“Ang masasabi ko na lang sa kanya, don't waste your time on them (bashers) kasi kung uubusin mo lang 'yung oras mo sa kanila, maii-stress ka lang,” Reyes’ piece of advice for Baliton. “Be thankful na lang nag-uubos sila ng oras sa'yo.”

Maizo-Pontillas also expressed sympathy to the embattled playmaker.

“Naawa ako sa kanya kasi syempre nag-tryout lang naman siya,” said the former University of Sto. Tomas star and multi-awarded hitter. “Wala siyang kasalanan na napasok siya (sa pool).”

“Sobra ng naba-bash kaya sabi ko. ‘Kawawa naman ang batang to, bata pa lang sobrang dami nang bashers’,” she added. “Sana ma-overcome niya ang mga nangyayari sa kanya.”

Two years ago, Maizo-Pontillas was also drawn in a controversial national women’s team selection for the 28th SEA Games in Singapore.

She joined the tryouts but was dropped in the Final 12 selected by then head coach Roger Gorayeb. Fans were also fuming mad with the decision to cut her from the squad and then directed their criticisms to the then Ateneo rookie Bea De Leon.




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