ALYSSA Valdez made her debut as a television analyst in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament in University of Santo Tomas’ shock win over De La Salle on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
The three-time UAAP MVP out of Ateneo returned to the league she once dominated not as a player or an alumna but as the color commentator side by side with veteran host and disc jockey Boom Gonzales.
It gave the volleyball star a whole new perspective on the game.
“It feels different not being on the court,” Valdez said. “It's just so nice to appreciate these girls and see them on the other side of the court, kasi parang never akong nakanood ng game na just enjoying it and trying to analyze it.”
Analyzing the game for TV viewers made the national team mainstay appreciate the game further, Valdez swore.
“Every time na manonood ako ng game, it's for scouting and we have to focus on someone or something,” Valdez said. “Ngayon, mas na-apprecieate ko 'yung sport, mas na-appreciate ko each and every player na naglalaro sa UAAP. Kung gaano kahirap 'yung ginagawa nila as student athletes.”
Valdez’s familiarity with UST, where she played in high school under coach Kungfu Reyes, and rival La Salle, the team she faced in all of her five finals appearance, gave her valuable insights to share with viewers.
“I'm familiar with the coaches, but not siguro sa mga players which is good. Kung nakalaban ko sila, may ibang anggulo na makikita,” the Creamline star said. “Most ng players na kinover ko ngayon, hindi ko rin nakasabay sa UAAP. Siguro si Des Cheng and Sisi Rondina. I guess, masasabi ko na ate na rin ako ng mga naglalaro.”
Valdez once served as host of the UAAP Cheerdance competition in Season 79, but she admitted that being a TV analyst is more spontaneous - and therefore more difficult.
“Dito nakadepende kasi sa laro. Ang hosting naman there's a script, you're planning it already,” Valdez said. “Ito kasi ang bilis ng nangyayari. You have to think, you have to know kung ano agad 'yung masasabi mo. You have to assess kung ano 'yung ginawa nilang tama, kung ano 'yung dapat nilang gawin to improve.”
“As a player iba kami mag-analyze and hindi ko naman siya sinasabi out loud. As an analyst, you have to explain it really well so other people will engage sa volleyball,” she added.
After her debut, Valdez admitted that she still has a lot to learn. That was why she sought her partner Gonzales for feedback and advice.
“I was just asking him if okay lang ba 'yung mga sinasabi ko,” Valdez said. “As a volleyball player, may mga analysis na hindi layman's term, so I was asking him advice for that. Also, kung ano 'yung dapat kong gawin sa mga future games.”