CROWD darling Alyssa Valdez honored her fans by sharing with them the Finals MVP plum she won after leading PLDT Home Ultera to a sweep of Army in the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Reinforced Conference championship at The Arena in San Juan last Sunday.
“This is for the fans,” Valdez told a GMA News TV Channel 11 reporter as she jubilantly hoisted and pointed her MVP trophy in the direction of supporters who came out in full force for the finals. “I’m deeply, deeply grateful for their loyalty and undying support. Win or lose, they’re always behind me.”
While the reigning back-to-back UAAP MVP sat out the entire run-up to the finals, Valdez showed no rust in Game One as she helped anchor Home Ultera’s stirring fightback from two-sets down, finishing with 25 points while taking home the Player of the Game honors.
The PLDT Home Ultera star sustained her form in Game Two that saw the Ultra Fast Hitters eke out a four-set win to complete the sweep of their best-of-three series. Valdez scored 22 points to bag the top player honors again and clinch the Finals MVP award, hands down.
“She is a treasure to have as a player,” Home Ultera coach Roger Gorayeb said. “Despite her superstar stature, she doesn’t give me problems. She always comes on time for practice. She doesn’t want to discuss playing fees even if she’s the only player to date who can fill any venue she plays in.”
Gorayeb recalled the day Valdez arrived in white polo shirt and denim shorts with her Ateneo coach Tai Bundit while her PLDT teammates were already warming up for Game One.
When told by Valdez that her school had not yet given her the go-signal to play, Gorayeb calmly pointed out to her that the big crowd almost filling the Arena paid for tickets primarily to see her play.
Valdez appeared to have a change of heart in the middle of the second set, as she came out wearing her playing uniform to deafening cheers and screams.
The 2015 season has been very productive for Valdez, Gorayeb, and PLDT Home Ultera. Each has achieved a grand slam of sorts: with Home Ultera winning the Open and Reinforced Conference diadems; Valdez copping the MVP titles of both events, and Gorayeb coaching his way to three championships this year — two with the Ultra Fast Hitters, and the third with the National University Lady Bulldogs.
“This has been a banner year for Shakey’s V-League,” said Ricky Palou, president of organizing Sports Vision. “We are now starting the groundwork for a grander and more exciting three-conference 13th season next year. We can’t offer any less. After all, it is in V-League where it all started.”