JERSEY STORY: Mika Reyes takes on iconic La Salle number and builds own legacy
Lady Spikers middle blocker Mika Reyes knew wearing the No. 3 jersey would immediately draw comparisons with another former De La Salle star, Jacq Alarca. Dante Peralta

THEY'RE more than mere numbers, and there's more to them than meets the eye.

From important dates in their lives to lucky numbers to mere coincidence, there's usually a compelling story behind the numbers your favorite players wear on their backs.

And more often that not, these stories will either surprise you or make you feel closer to your cage idols.

Here's No. 7 of our Jersey Story series:

THE moment she decided to wear jersey No. 3 for De La Salle, Mika Aereen Reyes knew she had big shoes to fill.

The 20-year-old fair-skinned charmer was well aware she would immediately draw comparisons with Jacq Alarca, the former Lady Spikers star who wore the same number during her time with the Taft-based school.

Alarca, of course, can be a daunting yardstick, having won several individual awards and championships in both the UAAP and the Shakey’s V-League.

“May pressure nga eh kasi ‘yung No. 3 bago ako si (Jacq) Alarca. Most Valuable Player, best server, best blocker, madami siyang best,” Reyes recalled to Spin.ph.

But in the five years she’s been playing for the Taft-based school, Reyes has slowly built her own legacy, having been part of the team’s run of three consecutive championships from 2011-13.

Her good looks likewise earned her adoring fans not only within the La Salle community but from other schools as well.

“Hindi ko naman nabura or napalitan (ang nagawa ni Alarca) pag-alis niya,” admitted the ‘special friend’ of basketball superstar Kiefer Ravena. “Pero nagawan ko lang ng bagong pangalan ang No. 3.”

Originally, the La Salle middle blocker dubbed ‘Taft Tower’ had wanted to take on No. 2 for her jersey number when she made the varsity team in 2011.

But she ended up with No. 3 instead simply because she had no choice.

“Noong dumating ako sa La Salle, meron na may-gamit ng No. 2, si (former La Salle skipper) Ate Aby (Marano),” the former St. Scholastica player recalled.

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“Hindi ko naman pwede kunin ‘yun sa kanya, ‘di ba?” she continued with a smile. “Eh No. 3 ang pwede so ‘yun na ang kinuha ko.”

“Hindi naman ako choosy,” she smiled.

But whatever jersey number she wears, she'll always be No. 1 in a lot of volleyball fans' hearts. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinspin