Soltones feels truly blessed
GRETCHEL Soltones doesn’t mind talk on how she may be underrated. Or how her wildly popular Bali Pure teammate Alyssa Valdez may be basking more in the spotlight.
For this San Sebastian standout, it’s really all about the sport and her team.
So when Soltones formally received the highest individual honor in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference yesterday—her third Most Valuable Player award in two leagues in as many years—she only felt “blessed.”
In winning the award, the 20-year-old spiker, who averaged 15 points per game, bested an illustrious list of MVP candidates that included Valdez, Pocari Sweat’s Michele Gumabao and Myla Pablo, National University’s Jaja Santiago and Philippine Air Force’s Judy Ann Caballejo and Joy Cases.
“I feel blessed to get the MVP award, but all I wanted was to help the team,” said Soltones, whose accolades may rival that of Valdez’s.
Before her latest feat, Soltones captured back-to-back MVP honors in the last two seasons in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. She also suited up for the Philippine team that saw action in the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Under-23 Volleyball Championship last year.
There’s no rivalry, though, between Soltones and the three-time UAAP MVP Valdez, whom she considers as her friend and “idol.”
For Soltones, it’s just all about relishing the sport that turned her life around.
For one, volleyball paved the way for a brief family reunion after Soltones’ estranged mother read about her in a newspaper early this year.
In a tearful courtside reunion, proud mother and daughter hugged each other in a scene that tug at many a volleyball fan’s heartstrings.
And it looks like there will be more of Soltones’ exploits.
“I’m very proud of Gretchel,” Bali Pure coach Charo Soriano said of Sotones, who fired a game-high 18 points to power the Water Defenders past Team Laoag, 25-27, 25-22, 25-23, 25-19, yesterday for third place.
“She showed that she’s not the young Gretchel Soltones that we know, but a very mature veteran already in the game of volleyball. She showed leadership, strength and prowess as an outside hitter.”
A senior business management student, Soltones is setting her sights next on leading the Lady Stags to the NCAA title.
“That’s my next goal, to get the NCAA crown on my last season with San Sebastian,” she said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.