Angel Canino, Bella Belen trade compliments, hope to play together ‘soon’
MANILA, Philippines — After their intense showdown in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball finals, Angel Canino and Bella Belen are honored to share the stage for making history as the rookie Most Valuable Players.
Belen and Canino were hailed as the Collegiate Press Corps Volleyball Players of the Year for 2022 and 2023, respectively, on Monday during the organization’s awards night in Quezon City.
Canino received the same accolade that Belen earned during her first UAAP season last year when she emerged as the MVP and Rookie of the Year to deliver National University’s first women’s volleyball crown in 65 years after a 16-game sweep.
“I’m so honored [to share this achievement with her] because she is the first rookie MVP. I was part of the audience during Season 84 I was inspired by her performance as a rookie and as her teammate in the Asean School Games.” said the 19-year-old Canino, who was still in the stands when La Salle got swept by NU in the Season 84 Finals.
“I saw how she played her heart out and prove that hard work pays off. I’m so proud of her,” she added.
When Canino made her UAAP debut this Season 85, she spelled the difference for the Lady Spikers and also emerged as the rookie MVP to end her school’s five-year title drought, exacting sweet revenge on Belen and the Lady Bulldogs.
Belen and Canino may have exchanged spikes and staredowns during the UAAP Finals but off the court, the two rising stars stressed they are friends outside the court. And the NU star was all praise for the rookie after replicating her feat.
“I’m very proud of Angel because of all throughout the season. We witnessed her talent and strengths. I saw how she put in the work. We played together in the ASEAN, and right there and then, I knew that she will go places,” Belen said.
Both UAAP stars also relished their opportunity to inspire the younger generation through their talents and healthy competition in the UAAP.
“I’m very happy because that’s what I want, for the kids to enjoy while watching volleyball. That’s the impact that I want, because volleyball is just not having fun, it’s all about values and morals,” Canino said.
“I’m happy we’re able to inspire. That’s our goal, to inspire the youth through volleyball so they can see how fun it is to have a second family,” Belen added.
Bella Belen and Angel Canino are honored to share the stage in the #CollegiatePCAwards
It’s been four years since Belen and Canino teamed up for the national youth team in the Asean School Games and the Philippine volleyball’s rising stars are hoping to join hands in the future.
“It’s normal for an athlete to want to experience being teammates with their rivals, especially someone this good. Who wouldn’t want that? So hopefully soon,” Belen said.
“I’m honored if I become teammates si Ate Bella and of course I’m also looking forward to becoming teammates with other players,” concluded Canino.