The Arena, San Juan
April 12, 2015
The dark ages in Philippine volleyball is almost coming to an end.
And collegiate superstar Alyssa Valdez is at the forefront of it.
Valdez is expected to be named as the country’s flag-bearer in the 28th Southeast Asian Games set June 5-16 in Singapore. And no athlete is more fitting than Valdez herself, who is now the face of the sport that is starting to come out of the rut after a decade-long stupor. Wrote about it at The Philippine STAR and Philstar.com here: http://www.philstar.com/sports/2015/04/11/1442617/volleyballs-valdez-seag-flag-bearer
It is not the question of why Valdez will be chosen. It’s why she shouldn’t be.
And why not?
Valdez, the back-to-back UAAP MVP who led the Ateneo Lady Eagles to back-to-back championships, is the unifying force when she agreed without batting an eyelash to join the national team doing battle in the Asian Under-23 Championship the country will host this May and the SEAG. And that SEAG squad will mark the first time the country will play in the biennial meet after a decade of lack of representation. I’m not saying the other players don’t deserve it. They all deserve it. Rachel Ann Daquis. Aby Marano. Gretchel Soltones. Jaja Santiago. Dindin Santiago-Manabat and the rest. All of them deserve it.
But Valdez should be the one.
There were some small voice in the wilderness though. Like arguments that the flag-bearer should be at least a medallist in recent international competitions. Like wushu star Daniel Parantac. But the measure of a flag-bearer is not about the golds won or victories garnered. It is about being a great example and an inspiration to many.
And these, my friends, are what have been setting Valdez apart.
The one who compared Valdez’ strength to inter-barangay levels must have scurried away into the abyss after watching her fire a match-best 19 hits in PLDT’s utter destruction of Army, the defending Shakey’s V-League Open Conference champion. Mouth shut, I guess.
Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Special thanks to the Tiebreaker Times for the superb photos)