Underrated UAAP Players

Sunday, 26 Nov 2017
Pau Macalalay - @rico_paulo

In the world of volleyball, the heroes don’t wear capes. Instead, they are donned with a jersey that has a number on it. But they also run, fly, save, and attack. And that is how heroes in volleyball are looked up to – their athleticism and prowess.

And with this kind of privilege comes the fame. They are viewed as the face of volleyball just like Alyssa Valdez, Mika Reyes, Jaja Santiago, to name a few.

However, just like in any other movie, we still have those sidekicks. These are the ones who do not get the fair share of spotlight that they certainly deserve. The ones who don’t get fully-acclaimed for doing something so heroic. The ones who can be relied on whenever a storm comes in. Those underrated players.

Here are some of the underrated UAAP players:

Heather Guino-o

Photo courtesy of Rave Sengco, Volleyball PH

Heather is a pure Lady Tamaraw by heart and it is very telling whenever she is on the court. As one of Bernadeth Pons’ angels, she often delivers once a set is given to her. In fact, she had a total of 65 points in the last season of UAAP.

Considering the fact that she is not the main attacker of FEU Lady Tamaraws, she still sees to it that she would be able to contribute for the glory of the green and yellow.

She was also a part of the powerhouse team POCARI sweat in the last Open Conference of Premier Volleyball League. Adding this to her arsenal, it is quite fitting to say that Heather is one good and efficient player.

Kat Arado

Photo courtesy of Leo Lopez, Volleyball PH

UE’s last win was in 1972 in UAAP Season 35. It has been more than four decades since they last won and the now UE Lady Warriors are more than hungry to even enter the Final Four.

It’s quite interesting to see the development of Shaya Adorador’s accomplices as they continue to improve a lot of aspects in their game.

One of UE’s gems now is Arado with her defensive skills. Bagging UAAP 79’s Best Digger award, she exemplified the skills a libero could ever have by defending the rockets fired on her squad.

Comparing Arado to Macandilli is inevitable. While Macandili is being acclaimed as today’s greatest libero, we can never deny the fact the Arado is giving her a run for her money.

Risa Sato

It is obvious that Risa is one sweet darling. A lot of ADMU fans awaited her arrival to their delight. But then it did not happen. Instead, she grabbed that chance to be a part of NU Lady Bulldogs. And look where she’s at now – a Lady Bulldog and a bona fide member of Bali Pure.

She took part both in the championship NU attained in the last season of SVL and Bali Pure in this year’s Open Conference of PVL. With Jaja’s domineering height, she is being overshadowed but Sato demonstrates the true demeanor of a middle attacker – the quickness, the timing in blocking, and of course, the enthusiasm on court.

While we got our eyes on the greatness of the Jaja Santiago, we might as well take a look at Risa’s endearing skills.

Alina Bicar

Photo courtesy of Rave Sengco, Volleyball PH

There is something with Alina Bicar that makes her a threat – that fighting spirit of a tigress.  Over the past years, UST had been known as a powerhouse team. However, when the era of blue and green rivalry started in 2012, the Lady Tigresses were put aside.

Their latest UAAP campaign was on the bright side of the spectrum with them entering the Final Four at the expense of NU Lady Bulldogs. In their first meeting with Lady Bulldogs in UAAP Season 79, it was Bicar who shone. She’s a setter, yes, but her game in that particular moment made a lot of heads turn and look at her. It was such a pivotal moment for her and for the whole team.

Since then, Bicar has proved herself to be somebody who can rise to the occasion. And well, this one’s for sure – she’s more than ready for more fights ahead.

Marian Buitre

Photo courtesy of Melanie Lim, Volleyball PH

Remember ‘UP Ikot’ in UAAP Season 79? Yep, that was originated by Jerry Yee’s (former) squad with Bersola, Tiamzon leading the pack. UP Ikot happens whenever they score. But this gesture unfortunately ran out of luck when they got beaten by FEU putting them out of contention.

Well, that’s all water under the bridge now. What’s really fascinating with this squad is the fact that they have a lot of reliable players. And to name one, let’s have Marian Buitre.

She had tallied 103 points last UAAP season. She was also one of the impeccable middle blockers. With her height and effective instinct in volleyball, it’s no wonder that she is always able to score.

Marian is a skill-full player with so much more in her she could offer. It’s just that the time has not come yet. But it’s surely soon to come.

Kim Gequillana

It is very telling that ADMU Lady Eagles have numerous followers all over the world. So, entering Ateneo’s roster is a real luxury with all the fame a player could attain.

Ehem, Alyssa Valdez. Ehem, Jia Morado. Ehem, Bea de Leon.  Sounds familiar? Of course. But then, not to devalue these great players, there’s someone who silently works well for the team and that is Kim Gequillana.

Kim can do both – defense and offense. She could bust walls and score. She could give an easy ball to setter. Even from the service line, she could ace.

Definitely, she’s one of Ateneo’s precious gems and even with her latest injury, her fans still believe that she would overcome this and fight for the glory of her alma mater this upcoming season.