SHE’S coming out and ready to make it on her own.
Marivic Velaine Meneses, or simply Ria to her friends, is eager to step out of her famous uncle's shadow as she tries to stand out in the popular and highly competitive field of women's volleyball.
That's not easy, of course, considering that Ria's uncle happens to be Vergel Meneses, a former PBA MVP who was also named among the pro league's 25 Greatest Players during its first 25 years.
Ria, though, is pretty determined.
“Ngayon 'yun ang pinaka-goal ko, na sundan ang footsteps ng Tito Vergel ko, pero in a way na gumawa na rin ako ng sariling pangalan,” Ria, daughter of Vergel’s older brother Vic, told Spin.ph.
At first glance, it is hard to separate one from the other. The 18-year-old rookie in University of Santo Tomas' volleyball team, for one, possesses her uncle's long limbs and grace on the court.
She also wears jersey No. 18, which his uncle made famous in a long PBA career where he distinguished himself as one of the most flamboyant scorers in league history.
But Ria has made it clear that while she is proud of her uncle, she would rather not ride on his coattails as she bids to make a name in a sport she has played since she was in fourth grade.
The Commerce student admitted she had no plans to study and settle in stressful Manila as she was already comfortable in the tranquil surroundings of her native Malolos in Bulacan.
But that was until she was discovered by former UST volleyball stalwart Mozzy Ravena in March 2012 before graduating in high school and convinced to try out her luck in the Big City.
Ravena also happens to be the mother of cage stars Kiefer and Thirdy.
“Taong bahay lang ako, gusto ko lang laging nagpapahinga,” she recalled. “Napadpad lang ako dito sa UST dahil pinasok ako ni Tita Mozzy (Ravena).
“Actually, wala nama akong balak pumunta dito sa Manila kasi malayo sa amin. Pero noong nakita ako ni Tita Mozzy, ayun na.”
Now that she is in Manila, she is determined to make the most of her opportunity. Ria is already one of the standouts of UST's women's team and is determined to reach new heights through sheer hard work.
“Sariling pagsisikap, pagbutihan mo dapat lagi sa training para madala na rin sa game `yung ginagawa mo sa training,” she said.
“Para kasi sa akin, pag gusto mo naman talaga, gagawin mo lahat para manalo ka, kahit sino pa ang kalaban mo.”