Gia Maquilang, Louie Ramirez, and Alijhan Apdian are just among the players who shined the brightest in the recently concluded NCAA Season 99 beach volleyball competition in Subic, Zambales.
These student-athletes proved that the Philippines is bursting with volleyball prodigies from the regions, and that the future of Philippine volleyball is in good hands.
Maquilang, who hails from Batuan, Bohol, led the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in defending their crown in the women’s division. What was impressive was that the Lady Knights did not drop a single set en route to the championship title.
The product of University of Bohol also bagged all the individual awards in the women’s division - Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, and Freshman of the Year.
“Siyempre, yung pressure ko po parang dapat i-angat ko po yung sarili ko since baguhan pa lang ako,” she said.
Maquilang lauded the support from her parents and her friends back in the province as it proved to be beneficial in her success.
“At first, yung lola ko then yung mga parents ko, sa mga nagsusuporta kong mga kaibigan, lahat po nang nagcha-chat kasi parang mino-motivate po ako na kaya ko, mga inspirasyon ko sa buhay, mga pamilya ko pong naiwan at nanunuod. Nagsuporta sila kahit malayo sila, mga moral support,” Maquilang shared.
Ramirez, on the other hand, brought the University of Perpetual Help System-DALTA to the promised land once again.
The Dasol, Pangasinan native’s last playing year in the sand court came the sweetest and more special after capping their back-to-back title.
“Sobrang sarap sa feeling kasi for the last time na makapaglaro ako sa NCAA beach volleyball, all-out ako kahit na anong mangyari… sobrang laki ng difference… ngayon, nakaka-proud kasi nabigay ko yung championship sa last playing year ko,” Ramirez said on his sting with Perpetual.
Aside from the championship, Ramirez went home with another Most Valuable Player award, which he also won in Season 98.
Last but not the least, Alijhan Apdian of Cagayan de Oro was named Rookie-MVP in the junior’s division after carrying Emilio Aguinaldo College to a championship.
He helped the Brigadiers win the juniors crown after a shaky start in the elimination round and losing the twice-to-beat advantage to Perpetual in the final four.
Apdian was full of emotions after the match and said that all his sacrifices were worth it, considering he has not returned home to the province ever since moving to Manila.
“Masaya dahil worth it yung pinaghirapan ko, mga sacrifices ko, mga suporta ng magulang ko. Pinagsisikapan ko talaga,” he said.