Unheralded Palomata stars for Air Force in V-League | Inquirer Sports

Unheralded Palomata stars for Air Force in V-League

/ 12:18 AM May 31, 2016
Air Force's Dell Palomata (9) reacts during a game against Bali Pure in the Shakey's V-League Season 13 Open Conference. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Air Force’s Dell Palomata (9) reacts during a game against Bali Pure in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

It was almost the perfect debut for Philippine Air Force upstart Dell Palomata.

Playing her first game for the Jet Spikers, she was motivated to strut her stuff and make a mark against the star-studded Bali Pure squad.

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Unfortunately for Palomata, her idol Alyssa Valdez missed the game, leaving her with no choice but make the most out of her first game.

“Sayang nga eh. Gusto ko siya kalabanin,” she said.

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Without Valdez, Palomata shone the brightest under the spotlight as Air Force shocked the Purest Water Defenders in four sets for its first win in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference.

The 20-year-old Aklan native, who was the Jet Spikers’ lone newcomer, and admittedly, she said she felt the nerves playing under a different circumstance.

“Nanibago ako kasi di ako sanay sa malamig na lugar, sa mga aircon,” she said.

But what worked in favor of Palomata was her cohesion with her teammates, allowing her to perform at her best to finish with 16 points, 10 from kills and five service aces in the win.

Filling the gaps left by stars Rhea Dimaculangan and Maika Ortiz, Palomata passed with flying colors as she truly turned heads in her impressive debut.

But for the incoming fourth year interdisciplinary studies major out of University of St. La Salle in Bacolod, it’s just a matter of her learning from veteran teammates like Judy Ann Caballejo and Wendy Anne Semana.

“Di naman ako na-pressure kasi natututo ako sa training namin. Maganda yung training namin at wala namang pressure kasi nag-trabaho talaga kami. Nasanay din ako sa tindi ng laro dahil parati ko rin silang kasama,” said the 6-foot-3 middle blocker, bringing that confidence to the court.

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“May kaba pa rin, pero nawala din naman. Sabi ko kaya ko naman kahit sino yung kalaban. Di ako magpapatinag kahit star pa sila. Kaya ko naman silang higitan eh.”

Palomata will have another chance to gauge her skills against her other idol in National University’s Jaja Santiago.

“Gusto kong ipakita kung sino ang mas malakas sa aming dalawa,” she said.

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TAGS: Air Force, Alyssa Valdez, Bali Pure, Dell Palomata, Jaja Santiago, V-League
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