UAAP Volleyball’s 5 best open spikers after Round 1
At least in the UAAP, some of the most distinguished players are open spikers. Case in point: Alyssa Valdez and Ara Galang, two of Philippine volleyball’s household names, are open hitters. This season, however, is seeing the emergence of new names who may soon be the league’s top players once the likes of Valdez and Galang graduate. INQUIRER.net counts down the five best open spikers after the first round.
Honorable mention: Ara Galang (DLSU Lady Spikers)
A year after suffering an ACL injury, Ara Galang is back on the court. While she is visibly not yet in her MVP form, she is getting there. After the first round, she amassed 77 points on 68 spikes, three blocks and six service aces. She is also the league’s eighth-best spiker and ninth-best digger. If her performance in their game against UST is any indication—you should know that she is just getting warmed up. Her comeback is real.
#5 Isa Molde (UP Lady Maroons)
A useful reminder to everyone this season: the power-hitting Isa Molde is just a freshman. The Hope Christian High School alum has been a favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors because of her spectacular performance in the first round. She leads the Lady Maroons in scoring with 90 points, and is also not a sleeper in defense as the tournament’s seventh-best digger. Is she the next big thing in the UAAP? UP fans are definitely hoping she is.
#4 EJ Laure (UST Golden Tigresses)
It may have taken her a while to warm up, but EJ Laure, dubbed by UST fans as “The Phoenix,” has finally caught fire. Being named captain just on her second year may have given her pressure, but it looks like Laure has been able to dust that off. Last season’s co-Rookie of the Year has 106 points under her belt, giving UST fans a lot of reasons to look forward to the future.
#3 Jema Galanza (Adamson Lady Falcons)
As it is known for producing high-caliber liberos, Adamson is also famous for developing topnotch open spikers who may be diminutive but pack a lot of power. One example of that is Jema Galanza. While she is not the tallest open spiker in the league, her hits pack a wallop like her predecessors Angela Benting and Bang Pineda. She is the tournament’s second-best scorer after the first round with 118 kills, with a spiking efficiency rate of 34.97%. She also does not sleep on defense as the league’s eighth-best digger and ninth-best receiver.
#2 Alyssa Valdez (Ateneo Lady Eagles)
Surprise! Alyssa Valdez may still be the most dominant volleyball player in the land, but she ranks second “only” on this list simply because the one who has overtaken her has the numbers to back up her standing. The reigning two-time MVP is currently the league’s fourth best scorer with 97 spikes, 13 service aces and three blocks—numbers which many players can only dream of. But if you have been watching Valdez over the years, you would know that she can do more than that. Good news for her and her fans, the league is just on its halfway mark. And that could only mean bad news to their opponents because Alyssa Valdez is measured not just by her numbers, but also by her ability to rise above challenges.
#1 Cherry Rondina (UST Golden Tigresses)
Why is Cherry Rondina the No. 1 open spiker in the league after the first round? Here are the numbers:
She is currently the league’s best scorer with 129 points. She is 4th in serving with 15 aces, seventh in spiking with an accuracy rate of 34.55%, and a non-libero who is fifth in the digging department.
She is not the tallest player in the league or in her squad (she’s probably even smaller than her publicized 5’6”-frame), but the former UAAP beach volleyball champion is showing the entire league that you need more than just height to dominate. This girl is on fire. She is fire.
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