While the game of volleyball is thrilling in itself, a new voice will bring more energy to Philippine Superliga games. Following in the lineage of great coliseum announcers like the Noel Zarate and the late Rolly Manlapaz is Jay Dela Cruz who started his career by attending Zarate’s broadcasting seminar in 2012.
That seminar opened a lot of doors for Dela Cruz such as calling some events of the 2012 Rio Olympics for AKTV. However, he want back to practicing his engineering course in the corporate world after that prestigious gig. But as time went by, he found it hard to turn away from what he truly loves.
He re-engaged in sports broadcasting via the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball league. “I started sa volleyball nung 2015. I covered that time what was called the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball League and served as a pinch-hitter for Noel (Zarate) that time. Yung Shakey’s na yun is what it is called now the Rebisco Volleyball League. Then in 2017, I made my Philippine Superliga debut. Sa beach volleyball yun I remember and again pinch hitting for Noel and Mang Rolly Manlapaz.”
When asked about being trained and eventually filling in for luminaries such as Zarate and Manlapaz, he mentioned: “So much to learn pa kung tutuusin. I am not even in the 10% of what those two have or experienced individually, so much more kung pinagsama pa sila.”
One of the joys of doing this line of work is the opportunity to cover unforgettable games. To which the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila alumnus responded: “I remember a lot of games. In volleyball, I remember being at the sidelines shouting each point of that historic 56 point explosion of Gyselle Silva. Also my very first championship point in the PSL, where MJ Perez scored for F2. A lot of unforgettable games but those two stand the most.”
Even though Dela Cruz has performed in the biggest of stages, he still can’t get rid of nervousness. “Minsan, pumipiyok (Voice crack) pa rin ako. Maraming beses na, pero kapag maganda na ang laro, hindi na mapapansin yun. The intensity will just wash that away and you will just enjoy the game,” he said.
As for his advice to those who want to get in this line of work, the Bocaue, Bulacan native stated, “One, be a fan of the game. Hard to deliver a game kung hindi mo siya gusto or what. Being a fan of the athlete is fine, pero once you are in dapat your biases should disappear. Kaya most important to me is be a fan of the game.”
He added, “Two, aral lang. There are some people who are actually willing to share what they know dito sa industry kaya once they find a way to learn to be like us, you got to grab that opportunity. And lastly never stop learning. There is so much to learn in the things that we do everyday. Lalo na sa industry na to… Ang daming nangyayari na bago palagi kaya we should keep an open mind everyday and never stop learning.”
With every spike, serve, and block about to be made in the PSL Grand Prix 2019, expect Jay Dela Cruz to inject excitement into the game we love dearly.