ON Wednesday, the UAAP bared the winners of the individual awards in volleyball, with Marck Espejo of Ateneo taking the men's MVP plum for the fourth straight time and La Salle's Majoy Baron emerging the surprise winner in the women's side.
While Espejo's victory was expected and no more than a formality, Baron's came as a surprise considering most of the talk the entire season had been of National University ace Jaja Santiago being a lock for the league's highest individual honor.
No wonder social media was abuzz with complaints, conspiracy theories, accusations and counter-accusations thrown in a back-and-forth manner only seen in thrilling volleyball rallies in the wake of the announcement.
One question inevitably lingered in the minds of fans: how was the MVP determined?
It didn't help that the league itself didn't even bother to lift a finger to clear this out. In fact, the league itself spawned the confusion by declining to release a tabulation on how the awardees were picked.
The general knowledge is that individual awards in the college league were based solely on statistics. But curiously, league officials declined to release the statistical tally of the players from the end of the two-round eliminations in women's volleyball.
A little explanation could've sorted out this brouhaha. Instead, what we got is a pregnant silence from league officials.
The questions from fans, to be fair, are merited. How can Jaja Santiago be the league's Best Scorer, Best Spiker, and Best Blocker and not the MVP? More so if you consider that the MVP honor, like the rest of the awards, were supposedly based on statistics.
But that doesn't mean that Baron is any less deserving. The La Salle spiker stepped out of the shadows of former Lady Spikers stars like Mika Reyes and played a big role in the school's march to another stint in the finals.
Baron, her fans rightfully claim, is truly 'valuable' to the Lady Spikers' cause.
We're not here to argue whether Santiago deserved the MVP more than Baron or vice versa. But we believe league officials could've handled the situation better.
Volleyball's growing fan base, which has translated into big revenues both for the league and its TV coveror, is a passionate lot. And these fans deserve an explanation from the league at the very least.
UAAP volleyball should take the cue from other sports where information about individual awards is readily made public. The PBA, for example, releases a tally of the breakdown of how the MVP was determined — from statistics to player votes to media votes.
Even the UAAP’s own basketball tournament releases the computations on how a player won an award in a stats-driven MVP race.
By not releasing the computation, the league has, unfairly, left the winner in a tight spot. Instead of being greeted by hosannahs, the league MVP has come under scrunity from volleyball fans who are among the most vocal in this part of the world in the advent of social media.
Not exactly the best way to treat your best player, if you ask us.