Valdez on furor over UAAP Athletes of Year choices: 'May kanya-kanya naman tayong opinions'
Alyssa Valdez with Bali Pure teammates during the V-League opening. Dante Peralta

ALYSSA Valdez chose to be grateful to her supporters and respectful of her critics amid the debate over the UAAP's deicision to name four co-Athletes of the Year for Season 78. 

The Ateneo volleyball star was one of the four awardees along with La Salle table tennis player and Olympian Ian Lariba, Ateneo swimmer Jessie Khing Lacuna and Adamson softball player Queeny Sabobo.

The outspoken but polite volleybelle said she wasn't made aware of the recognition - or the furor the choices have stirred - until she arrived on Sunday morning from an exhibition match in Doha, Qatar.

She nonetheless chose to respect everyone's stand on the issue.

“Nasa flight ako for like 12 hours and wala rin akong idea kung ano ang nangyayari and kung mayroon mang (nagda-doubt), well may kanya-kanya naman tayong opinions ‘di ba?” she said.

“May kanya-kanya tayong comments about everything but I guess magbo-boil down din naman 'yan sa kung ano yung nasa iyo, kung ano ang pinaniniwalaan mo at pinaniniwalaan ng mga malalapit sa’yo, ‘yun lang,” she added.

[See Lariba, Valdez, Lacuna, Sabobo named co-Athletes of the Year by UAAP]

When asked if she thinks she deserved the award, Valdez said that she was just grateful for the recognition.

“Oh my God, ano ba yan? Grabe naman yun (tanong na ‘yun),” she said. “I’m just thankful na binibigyan ako ng mga ganitong blessings.”

“Ako, honestly hindi ko naman ini-expect na may mga ganyan na mabibigyan ka ng mga award na ganyan, so I’m grateful and thankful and really blessed na kahit na tapos na tayo sa UAAP career, nabibigyan pa tayo ng mga ganitong blessings,” she added.

The UAAP women’s volleyball three-time MVP said it was unfortunate she was not able to attend the awarding ceremony on Saturday night at Bahay ng Alumni in University of the Philippines.

“Sayang ‘di ako naka-attend, kanina lang ako dumating five in the morning, sayang,” she regretted.

[See Ian Lariba simply a cut above the rest]

The 22-year old pride of San Juan, Batangas also revealed that she only learned about the news from her rumored boyfriend Kiefer Ravena.

“I didn’t know talaga. Alam mo ba kung kailan ko nalaman? Kanina lang pagdating namin. Kasi kanina ko lang nabasa,” she said.

“Nabasa ko nga sa inyo (sa media) na nominated ako,” she added. “Nag-text na lang rin si Kiefer tapos nakita ko na lang pagdating ko na lang rin dito, so ngayon ko na lang rin nalaman.”

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In the end, Valdez said she wants to share the award to all UAAP student athletes, who she thinks also deserve the honor for their sacrifices.

“I think every athlete naman deserves to be given (the Athlete of the Year award). Lahat naman nag-e-effort," she said. “I think it’s for every athlete naman talaga ang award.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada