TWO months before the UAAP Season 79 women's volleyball tournament stars, University of Santo Tomas stalwart Ria Meneses is already making a lot of heads turn.
The niece of PBA legend Vergel Meneses continues to play under the shadows of prolific hitters Sisi Rondina and EJ Laure, but the big improvement in her game has not gone unnoticed.
Just weeks back, the towering Tigresses ace was named first best middle blocker in the recently concluded Shakey's V-League Reinforced Conference.
But the soft-spoken Malolos, Bulacan native was quick to deflect the credit.
"Hindi naman po ako lang 'yun, syempre tinulungan po ako ng teammates ko," said Meneses, who is entering her third season with the Tigresses.
"Kung ano lang po ang ine-ensayo namin 'yun lang din po ang ginagawa ko," she added. "At saka kung sa tingin po ng iba na gumaling na ako, ako nga po, nakukulangan pa."
Meneses is now hoping that she can carry over her performance in the commercial leagues into the UAAP, where the Tigresses will be looking to end a three-year absence from the Final Four.
UAAP Season 79 women's volleyball will kick off in late January.
Meneses, whose team was the lone all-Filipino squad to make the semifinal round dominated by import-backed teams, shared that her exposure in the commercial leagues has helped her hone her skills.
"Kapag kasi buma-block ako malaking tulong 'yung open (spiker) na kasabay kong tumatalon kasi siya ang kasabay ko sa tyempo," she said.
"Tapos sa PSL kasi intense ang mga paluan compared sa mga collegiate eh, kaya ayun nasanay na ako sa malalalakas na palo."