MUCH has been written and said about Alyssa Valdez the volleyball star; now let's take a look at the popular, hard-hitting spiker in the eyes of her own father, Roel.
It’s easy to understand where Alyssa got her pleasant personality. Daddy Roel is soft-spoken and rarely seeks attention to himself when he travels all the way from their hometown in San Juan, Batangas to watch Alyssa's games.
When Spin.ph finally got to talk to him during one of Alyssa’s game in the Shakey’s V-League, Daddy Roel admitted that to this day he and the family still could not believe what his only daughter has achieved in a young career.
“Wala eh, hindi namin expected na mararating niya itong ganitong kasikatan,” he said. “Kasi galing lang kami sa simpleng pamilya, simpleng buhay lang kami sa probinsiya.”
In fact, he didn't even expect her to become this good in volleyball. Daddy Roel revealed Alyssa only took the sport seriously after she was hit by a ball while playing with her brothers.
“Actually, hindi naman talaga volleyball ang gusto niyan," he said. "Noong bata pa ‘yan, natamaan siya ng bola ng mga kapatid niya, ayun na-challenge siya na maging kasing galing ng mga kuya niya kaya nag-aral mag-volleyball.”
Daddy Roel, who works in the Region IV office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, said he still can't believe until now how popular the Ateneo Lady Eagles star has become.
Yet he was also the first to say Alyssa's star status doesn't extend to the home, where she was never treated as a diva even if she was the only daughter.
“Normal lang, gaya lang ng ibang bata, naghuhugas din siya ng mga plato, ganoon,” revealed Daddy Roel. “Hindi (siya star), pero hindi na rin namin para utusan siya masyado kasi pagod na rin.”
He said Alyssa grew up in a simple household, with the kids doing their share of household chores.
“Sila ‘yan ng mga kapatid niya dati sa amin, pag-aalis kami ng asawa ko, magta-trabaho silang magkakapatid na ang gagawa sa bahay,” said Daddy Roel.
“Kaya uuwi ako ‘yung mga alaga naming kalabaw, manok napakain na nila, ‘yung bahay malinis na,” he added.
Although he swears Alyssa has not changed a bit since she left their hometown at 12 years old to play for University of Santo Tomas girls’ volleyball team, there’s one thing Daddy Roel misses doing with her daughter.
“Bihira na lang na magkasama-sama kami,” he said. “Kasi umuuwi siya sa amin, pahinga na lang.”
“Minsan nagkukulang na rin kami sa mga kamag-anak ‘yung oras niya na makapunta ‘yun lang, ‘yun yung (name-miss ko lang),” he added.
Daddy Roel, 53, said he is aware that Alyssa's popularity entails a little sacrifice and a change in the family's routine. But he still misses doing what ordinary families do.
Like going out for family dinners, for example. Something the Valdezes can no longer do without Alyssa attracting attention in restaurants and other public places.
“‘Di ba kung ordinaryong player lang siya na estudyante, kahit saan ka kasama namin okay lang? Ngayon mahirap na, ‘yun ‘yung mahirap. Pwede ‘yung kasama ka maglakad-lakad lang kayo dyan lalabas,” he said.
“Kasi simpleng pamilya lang kami, hindi naman kami celebrities. Doon lang kami nahihirapan, parang gusto lang namin ‘yung naglaro siya tapos uuwi kami,” he added.
“Makikita mo ba ‘yung ibang player na kasama ‘yung magulang na okay lang lalabas parang mas masaya eh, mas masarap sa magulang kaysa ‘yung hindi mo malapitan,” he continued.
Daddy Roel, however, said he is grateful for the love and support showered on Alyssa by volleyball fans.
“Pero nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila kasi ganoon ang paghanga nila sa anak ko,” he said.