Alyssa Valdez: From the UAAP and beyond | Inquirer Sports
One Game At A Time

Alyssa Valdez: From the UAAP and beyond

/ 11:48 PM February 07, 2016

When you schedule interviews with athletes, celebrities or resource people, the key is to be flexible.

After setting a time and place for a chat with volleyball star Alyssa Valdez, I got an apologetic text message: “Having dinner with Coach Tai (Bundit). Biglaan, sir (It was spur of the moment).” I text back and say not to worry as all I need is five minutes and we actually end up in the restaurant we first decided on.

The amiable Valdez greets you where she’s having that after-practice dinner with Ateneo Lady Eagle staff members. Teammate Amy “Kiwi” Ahomiro is in tow along with Bundit who greets you in the traditional Thai prayer-like way.


The prolific, high-scoring Valdez is into her last playing year in the UAAP. It’s been a checkered career with MVP awards and back-to-back titles for Ateneo. She views each game from this point on with mixed emotions, knowing it’s her final stint and all the other teams want to beat Ateneo.


“There’s a different pressure this year,” Valdez ponders. “All the teams have recruited and scouted well.”

She admitted that falling behind early to the National University Lady Bulldogs in their first game was part of the excitement of a new tournament but the Lady Eagles still won and should be fine as the UAAP women’s tournament rolls along.

It will also be different because two reliables from the back-to-back champion teams have graduated. Libero Denden Lazaro and the high-leaping Ella de Jesus have all moved on to other post-college concerns.

Valdez remains optimistic, though, as promising rookies and a few personnel adjustments seem to be working well for now.

“Kiwi and I are the only ones left (from the back-to-back champion team),” Valdez explains.

For sure, Ateneo will be hard-pressed to send Valdez and Ahomiro off from the school with a title.


University of the Philippines has vastly improved, University of Santo Tomas is always a threat and archrival La Salle can never be counted out.

And Valdez is clearly the cynosure of all defensive efforts of opponents. “You think of what more you can do to help the team, now that everybody knows your game,” Valdez added.

Down the road, Valdez would like to continue playing for the national team and possibly in international leagues abroad.

“I want to see what’s out there in the volleyball world,” says Valdez, obviously excited to lead the Lady Eagles anew but ready for the opportunities of a post-UAAP career as a guest player in countries where the game has a professional league.

“It’s been a thrilling decade,” Valdez adds. “I had no idea back then that volleyball would be this big for me.”  The Ateneo star is grateful as well to the legions that follow her, most of whom never studied in the Jesuit school.

Her congeniality aside from her athletic prowess has endeared her to many.

During our talk, Valdez allowed starstruck fans to have a photo with her and Ahomiro.  There was a group of children who knew her and Valdez has always made it a point to be available to kids, even in crowded sports coliseums.

Valdez first learned volleyball as a game with her brothers in her hometown in San Juan, Batangas.

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The game she loves has continued to love her back. The only difference now is that she has to lead her teams into the fray, whether they’re Lady Eagles seeking another title or a national team aching to regain respect in international volleyball.

TAGS: Alyssa Valdez, UAAP, Volleyball

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