A TELEVISION show can really change a person’s life, just like how Willie Revillame’s 'Wowowin' gave a golden opportunity to a tall teen from Bataan.
The newest recruit of Far Eastern University's high school volleyball squad, Jennilyn Villar, shared to SPIN.ph how her towering 6-foot-1 frame enabled her to reach new heights and how 'Wowowin' changed her life.
It took four auditions for the 15-year-old before getting the chance to join Wowowin, having tried 'Willie of Fortune,' which was then looking for muses in barangay and school leagues, singing contest Cold Voice, and the Pretty Millennials pageant.
After missing the cut in those auditions, she almost gave up.
But an opportunity came knocking for the statuesque teenager when 'Wowowin' came looking for tall ladies as 'Willie of Fortune' contestants.
“Nung papunta na kami sa GMA, kinakabahan ako dahil baka may mas matangkad pa sa 'kin," she shared, recouting her audition day. "Pero nung pagdating ko doon, ako ang pinakamatangkad sa lahat ng nag-audition. So nabuhayan ako nang loob hanggang nag-start na 'yung audition."
“Then tumigil yung mundo ko nung tinawag ‘yung pangalan ko. Halos matulala na lang ako hanggang sa umiyak na ako sa sobrang tuwa dahil nasuklian na yung pagod namin sa pag aaudition. Kaya yun yung the best day ko ever,” she added.
September 17 was when Villar finally achieved her dream to step in Wowowin’s studio, getting the hosts' attention with her height and sharing to the TV host that she plays volleyball and dreams of becoming a beauty queen someday.
She almost won the mega jackpot prize with two other contestants in ‘Pera o Kahon’ as she correctly sensed the P1-million cash prize, brand new car, and house and lot prize was inside the violet box, but her teammates wrongly chose ‘rosas’.
“Tatlo po kaming nakapasok sa jackpot hindi namin nakuha pero bet ko po talaga dapat kunin is violet kase favorite color ko yun. Kaso rosas yung napili namin,” she said.
But an unexpected jackpot prize arrived five days after, September 22, when FEU head coach George Pascua and his assistant coach Rey Diaz went to their house to recruit the towering girl and offer her an athletic scholarship.
“Pumunta po ang FEU coaches sa bahay namin last September 22. Kinausap nila kami about kung paano ako matuturuan, also ‘yung mga pangangailangan ko if I accept their proposal,” she said.
Pascua revealed to SPIN.ph that they have been eyeing the young and tall teen even before her TV appearance since a lot of people from Bataan were egging his assistant and men’s team coach Diaz to bring Villar to FEU.
And 'Wowowin' became the way for them to pursue the Grade 8 student from Bataan National High School.
“Actually bago pa pumasok may nagbanggit na sa amin. Si coach Rey nga dahil taga-Bataan yan. Wala lang kaming time na puntahan before,” Pascua said. “Nakita namin, nagkataon na nag-guest siya sa Wowowin so nagkaroon kami ng opportunity na puntahan siya.”
The Bataan native was really grateful for how 'Wowowin' changed her life and be invited to her dream school.
“Para sa 'kin yung 'Wowowin' yung naging daan para makita ako ng FEU,” Villar said. “Since nung hindi pa po ako nasasali sa 'Wowowin,' may mga lumalapit na po talaga sakin na ino-offeran ako na mag-try sa FEU. Pero hindi ko napagtuunan ng pansin gawa nga po ng busy sa school.”
Without batting an eyelash, she accepted the offer to study at FEU High School in Diliman by next year and be part of Pascua’s Baby Tamaraws program.
“Sa totoo lang dream school ko po talaga ang FEU dahil magagaling yung mga player nila at saka ramdam ko naman po na matututukan nila ako," she revealed.
But unlike the blue-chip recruits, Villar admitted that she is not yet good enough at volleyball, having yet to become a varsity player in a sport that is only a pastime for a consistent honor student, who has been joining pageants — with one more upcoming contest in their school, Binibining Kalikasan 2018, this month.
“Hindi po talaga ako naglalaro ng volleyball. Actually po hindi po ako marunong maglaro kase puro academics lang po talaga ang tutok ko. Isa rin po sa pinag-kakaabalahan ko ang model and pageant,” confessed Villar.
“Naglalaro po ako yung larong kalye lang po," she added. "Kasama ko pong naglalaro yng mga pinsan ko. Sa school po pag PE po naglalaro din po kami ng mga kaklase ko.”
But it’s not going to be a big problem for Pascua, who has seen the desire of Villar to learn under his program and her eagerness to be a future Lady Tamaraw.
“Sa amin kasi hindi naman kami about sa skill ng bata doon sa character. Kasi ‘yung skill pwede mong i-develop pero yung character nasa bata na yun,” said the FEU coach. “Nandoon naman na yung desire niya matuto kasi umpisa pa lang sinabi na niya na willing siya. Nandun na yung willingness niya.”
And the new recruit is really eager to learn and prove herself deserving of the chance given by the school.
“Alam ko naman sa sarili ko na kaya ko. Lahat naman ng bagay pinaghihirapan. Syempre sa una magiging tanga ka muna bago ka magiging magaling,” Villar said. “Magpupursige ako sa pagte-training hanggang sa maging bihasa na'ko sa paglalaro ng volleyball.”
“At pag nasalang na'ko sa laro, dapat mapakita ko na ako yung player na pinagkatiwalaan nila at kayang ibigay sa kanila ang panalo bilang pasasalamat dahil kundi dahil sa kanila wala ako sa kinatatayuan ko ngayon,” she added.
Expectations are high because of her towering frame but as the sky is the limit for her potential, Villar is ready to begin a new life starting next school year - not only enduring the life of a student-athlete in Manila, but ,the hardest part, being away from her family in Bataan.
“Ready na ako. Mahirap man dahil malalayo sa family mo pero kailangan, para sa akin din naman yon. Para din matuto akong mapag-isa dahil hindi naman sa buong panahon eh kasama natin ang magulang natin,” she said.