Mika Reyes of F2 Logistics looks jittery as she enters the packed ballroom of Diamond Hotel. The luminaries of world volleyball were there while a good score of reporters was also invited to witness the formal launch of the FIVB World Club Women’s Championship as well as the announcement of the new PSL ambassador.
Not far away were Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga – two members of the RC Cola-Army who were the first to be selected as part of the team that will compete in the FIVB World tourney.
Coincidentally, both of them were also said to be serious contenders in the derby for PSL ambassador, a distinction given to a player who will serve as the face of the league for this season.
Cha Cruz was also there — the outgoing PSL ambassador.
The drums in Reyes’ chest were beating faster.
It gets wilder, louder every minute.
Finally, the master of ceremony takes center stage. The program was about to begin.
The music stopped. Everybody listened.
Reyes closed her eyes.
She uttered a little prayer.
Then, in the darkness of silence, somebody from the back shrieked… Oh yes, it’s Reyes!
PSL president Ramon “Tats” Suzara explained that being a PSL ambassador is no easy task.
Aside from serving as the ambassador of goodwill and face of the league in various PSL events like beach volley competition, out of town games, outreach programs, foreign tournaments and volleyball clinics and seminars, the PSL ambassador should also serve as role model and inspire the fans.
Two years ago, Gretchen Ho of Petron was selected to become the first PSL ambassador due to her wholesome reputation, charm and ability to speak on behalf of the league.
She was succeeded by Cha Cruz of F2 Logistics, who also did a tremendous job of representing the league before its legion of fans.
This year, the PSL tapped another former La Salle superstar.
It decided to appoint Reyes.
Reyes said she was thankful for the opportunity and would do her best to fulfill her role.
One of the factors that was said to have swung the pendulum completely to Reyes’ favor was her good moral character and ability to entertain fans with her powerful game and competitive nature.
An insider said the league paid special attention to a Volleyverse story that she braved the one-hour drive from the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila just to make it to the league’s opening ceremony at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The ceremony at the PICC was a life-changing occasion for her.
It was her graduation – the golden moment she has been waiting for.
And yet, she never turned down her hundreds of fans who trooped to the venue just to see her in action for the first time since leading La Salle to the UAAP women’s volleyball crown.
Another source said Reyes’ intensity during games also played a crucial role. So far, the Cargo Movers are on top of the team standings and it seems that they will give other heavyweights like RC Cola-Army, Petron and Foton a serious run for the crown.
But more than anything else, her popularity to the fans served as the deciding factor.
A young fan, in fact, tweeted that Reyes has been inspiring her to do well in her studies. And if ever Reyes will be the new PSL ambassador, she vowed to further work hard and do well in school, similar to her idol, who defied the odds to excel in both sports and academics and emerged with a Psychology degree with flying colors.
Another fan said Reyes carries herself with class and poise despite being bashed by her critics.
So yes, Reyes has what it takes to become the face of the league.
She’s charming, sweet and talented. Her smile can mend a thousand broken hearts.
That’s why when somebody from the back exclaimed “Oh yes, it’s Reyes!” in the darkness of silence, nobody was surprised.
Everybody knows that Reyes truly deserves it.