Amid the celebration that concluded the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball—yet another classic La Salle-Ateneo battle—was a tearful farewell of volleyball superstar Alyssa “Baldo” Valdez, who almost single-handedly carried her team to victory. She may have lost that game, but she most certainly won the hearts of the 22,848 fans at the venue and the millions watching at home.
And from there she officially became the face of Philippine volleyball.
Born on June 29, 1993 in San Juan, Batangas, Alyssa learned how to play volleyball as early as ten years old. She was taught by her mother, who used to be a volleyball player herself.
Throughout her college years she has been called several iconic monikers—The Scoring Machine, The Queen Eagle, The Phenom, among others—yet all the titles attached to her name fail to match the statistical milestones that she has achieved so far: a 4-time UAAP best scorer, 3-time best server, and 3-time season MVP.
She was the outside hitter whom everyone hailed and opponents feared, known for her thunderous spikes that destroy even the most solid net and floor defense. Yet despite the awards, she remains grounded.
“I think I’m still the simple girl who really just wanted to study in one of the well-known universities here in the Philippines, which is Ateneo. And siyempre, no’ng nag-high school ako, which is UST. I’m still trying to achieve the dreams I set for myself, and I consider all these recognitions as an inspiration and motivation to become a better person [sic],” Alyssa said.
Today she continues to wreak havoc on court, playing professionally for the Creamline Cool Smashers. “Na-realize ko na I can’t live without volleyball talaga. Sa ganitong sport kasi, marami kang matututunan, team work and discipline, because you’re surrounded by different personalities,” she added.
Published in Manila Bulletin‘s Lifestyle section. Read the full story here.
For more on Alyssa Valdez, check out her “Game Ready” video series here.
Images by Rochwald Iven Figueroa and David Clarence Rivera, Styling by Yzza Hablado, Make Up by Eliza Santiago of MAC Cosmetics, Hair by Bullet Reyes; Shot on location at the Center for Musculoskeletal Science-Asia, Quezon City.