Latest Stories

Women’s volleyball rises in PH


ON TOP OF THEIR GAME. Posing for a coffee-table book are some of the country’s volleyball stars (from left): Angeli Tabaquero, Suzanne Roces, Nerissa Bautista, Michelle Carolino, Mary Jean Balse, Rachel Anne Daquis, Charo Soriano, Angela Benting and Alyssa Valdez. FRANCIS T.J. OCHOA

MANILA, Philiippines—Football owes its resurgence to the poster-boy-heavy national team Azkals, whose collection of chiseled demigods created shrieking interest in the sport. Volleyball never had a flagship game or a popular ambassador to rally around—until now.

The women’s game changed the outlook for volleyball. It created pinup girls for the sport, fan favorites who draw as much public attention as other sporting stars.

“If people recognize the players, then it means they watch the game,” said Ateneo’s Fille Saint Cainglet, easily one of the most recognizable faces of the V-League.

(INQSnap the front page to view a gallery, as well as zoomable PDF posters, of some of the top stars.)

Much of the rise in the popularity of women’s volleyball comes from the V-League, the brainchild of a group called Sports Vision, whose main founders—Ricky Palou, Moying Martelino and the late former Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Jun Bernardino—ironically had deep roots in basketball.

The Shakey’s V-League gave collegiate stars, who already had their own cult following in their respective schools, a mainstream audience to showcase their skills to.

“It was Shakey’s that showed faith in women’s volleyball,” said Gretchen Ho, Cainglet’s equally popular Ateneo teammate.

The players felt the tournament’s impact immediately.

“I was surprised when people came to watch us play,” said Suzanne Roces, the former star of the San Sebastian volleyball varsity program, speaking of her early days in the V-League. “Before, the only people who would watch us play were our schoolmates.”

Roces, Cainglet and Ho are just part of the stable of stars that the V-League has produced. University of Santo Tomas’ Mary Jean Balse and Angeli Tabaquero, Ateneo’s Charo Soriano and Alyssa Valdez, Far Eastern University’s Rachel Anne Daquis, La Salle’s Michelle Carolino and Adamson’s Angela Benting have also crossed over to mainstream consciousness because of the Shakey’s tournament.

Daquis, for instance, is slowly making her own name in the modeling world.

And where these girls go, so goes women’s volleyball.

While the V-League gave the collegiate stars and the sport even more popularity, it was a college game that amplified that popularity.

It was a no-bearing match of the University Athletics Association Philippines (UAAP) but the fact that the sport’s rise collided with the country’s fiercest rivalry created a supernova of sorts. La Salle and Ateneo battled in front of 19,000 screaming fans at MOA Arena on March 7, producing even more stars, especially from the La Salle side.

La Salle eventually won the UAAP crown.

The likes of Michelle Gumabao, Abi Marano, Ara Galang and the spunky Mika Reyes became household names and really helped the sport orbit into uncharted territory in terms of popularity.

“The rivalry really helped add to the hype for women’s volleyball,” Ho said in a television interview.

On Sunday, volleyball received another boost when National University scored a vengeful 26-24, 25-23, 25-22 victory over Ateneo at MOA Arena, to force a sudden death for the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 First Conference crown.

In a way, it’s like a circle of life for the sport. The V-League harnessed the skills of the players after college, marketed the sport and raised the level of interest in the sport. College leagues continue to manufacture stars to feed the V-League machine.

All that makes women’s volleyball the newest sporting sensation in the country.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Philippines , Sports , women's volleyball

  • bauninam

    wala bang babae jan,,puros mukhang jokla ehh

  • hustlergalore

    4th girl from left. jean saburit look-a-like

  • You’re Funny!!!

    Buti naman at nabibigyan na ng pansin ang mga sports na VolleyBall at Soccer sa Pinas. Sana Chess din.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716972971 Elson Elizaga

    The editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer should consider deleting comments that tend to subject the volleyball players to sexual harassment.

    • http://www.businessinsider.com/the-art-of-war-sun-tzu-2011-5?op=1 Sun Tzu

      There are no moderators here, INQ is too cheap to hire one. In fact if you look at their news, there are a lot of typos, seems that they are having problems already with editors and proofreaders, what more to hire moderators pa!

  • fache

    I’ll take #2 and #5 anytime!!!!!!!!

  • gon freecs

    ang laki nman ng naka no. 9

  • Iggy Ramirez

    Ampayat ng etits nung naka number 4. Mukhang bading pa.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamal.idris.353 Jamal Idris

    Dalawa ang lalake.

  • Manuel_II

    Pede ba akin na lang yung Apat dyan, LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

  • Bulagas

    gusto ko turnakin lahat ng mga babae na yan!!! wohooo

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • 12 dead, 96 injured in Holy Week accidents–NDRRMC
  • Filipino devotees re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • Rouhani talks peace, outreach at army parade
  • Rains, thunderstorms on Good Friday
  • Carbon monoxide leak suffocates 20 in Catbalogan City
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Marketplace