Alyssa Valdez and Mika Reyes talk about on-court swag

On-court swag has been at the forefront of conversations among volleyball fans especially during the UAAP season. While people may have varying opinions about it, two former UAAP stalwarts have shared their views regarding this matter.

Guesting at ABS-CBN Sports and Action’s The Score after the announcement of the Philippine women’s volleyball team training pool last March 8 at the Joy & Nostalg Ballroom in Pasig City, Alyssa Valdez and Mika Reyes expressed their thoughts about showing fiery emotions while playing.

Playing for the De La Salle University Lady Spikers from UAAP Seasons 74 to 78, the three-time UAAP champion expressed, “Nami-miss ko siya actually kasi ngayon bawal na eh. Sasabihin ng ref tumalikod ka. Yellow card kaagad eh. Pero ngayon, nakaka-miss naman.”

But when asked why athletes, particularly volleyball players, do it, the Bulacan native thinks that it’s for personal motivation. “I think yun swag na yan, it’s for yourself yan eh. Yun sa akin, bino-boost ko yun sarili ko, not for everyone na mainis sila sa akin. Actually, matagal na siyang issue so nire-remind ko lang sila.”

The current Petron Blaze Spikers middle blocker also added that it’s her way of shutting off the distractions around the court. “For me ganun lang talaga yun, gusto ko lang i-lift up yun sarili ko kasi sabi nga ni Ate Aby (Marano), yun crowd nakakadala sila. Playing under pressure, yun may sumisigaw, yun may nagbo-boo sa iyo tapos sabay-sabay sila. Instead na pakinggan mo sila, sarili mo na lang. Ilabas mo sarili mo kasi nga sabi din ni Coach Ramil (De Jesus) na maglaro kayo sa loob ng court na kayo lang, hindi ka pwedeng tumingin sa crowd kasi ma-out of focus ka.”

Game’s intensity breeds swag

Meanwhile, Valdez quipped that swag is used by players to celebrate a hard-fought point. “Yun intensity kasi ng Ateneo-La Salle game in the UAAP, sobrang taas talaga. And it’s part of the game when you don’t realize na you’re celebrating na kasi pinaghirapan mo talaga to get a point eh and it’s hard to get a point in volleyball. So magre-react ka talaga in a way na hindi mo ine-expect na ganun ka magre-react,” the three-time UAAP women’s volleyball Season Most Valuable Player said.

The current Creamline Cool Smashers team captain closed that on-court swag should not be enough to generalize a player’s personality. “We can’t just judge anyone kung ano yun ginagawa nila sa court kasi kung alam lang nila yun mga ginagawa ng atleta during practices, mare-realize nila kung gaano kahirap yun and to get that point, you should really celebrate.”

Reyes and Valdez fought in five UAAP Finals series. The former won titles with De La Salle in Seasons 74, 75, and 78 while the latter clinched the championship in Seasons 76 and 77 with Ateneo.