Alyssa Valdez, Marck Espejo named MVPs as Ateneo dominates V-League and Spikers Turf awards
Alyssa Valdez is congratulated by Jaja Santiago and Bea de Leon as EJ Laure looks on. Dante Peralta

ALYSSA VALDEZ was named V-League MVP for the second straight conference, while Marck Espejo won the MVP title in the Spikers Turf as Ateneo bagged most of the individual awards in the two commercial-amateur leagues.

Valdez wound up on top of the women’s tournament anew, getting the top individual award on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan after after being named MVP of the Open Conference last summer.

The back-to-back UAAP MVP also won a second straight First Best Outside Spiker award.

Espejo of the undefeated Blue Eagles was awarded the MVP trophy before the team scored a straight-sets win over NU in the opener of the Spikers’ Turf finals.

Espejo was also named Second Best Outside Spiker, while teammate Ysay Marasigan bagged the Best Opposite Spiker award.

Valdez, from San Juan, Batangas said the recognition is a morale booster for the team.

“I think for the team naman ang ultimate goal ay sana manalo kami ng championship e,” said the Queen Eagle, who scored 20 points in Ateneo’s three-set win over National University in the opener of the best-of-three finals.

Ateneo’s Bea de Leon was named Second Best Middle Blocker and Gizelle Tan won the Best Setter award.

“It’s really a bonus for us and extra motivation and inspiration to even train harder and to push ourselves pa dahil sa awards na ibinibigay nila. I’m really thankful sa lahat ng nangyayari,” Valdez added.

If Valdez wins the Finals MVP award, she will be the second player to sweep the three highest individual awards in the league after former University of Santo Tomas spiker Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, who completed the golden treble twice — in Season 6 second conference and last year’s Open tournament.     

“Oh wow, talaga? Idol ko si ate Aiza,” said Valdez when told about Maizo-Pontillas’ record.

“We’re really going to focus sa game muna and if it will come, it will come. It’s God’s will naman din siguro. Tingnan natin,” she added.

Other individual awardees were EJ Laure of UST (Second Best Outside Spiker), Fatima General of NU (Best Libero) and Jaja Santiago of NU (First Best Middle Blocker) and Far Eastern University reinforcement Jovelyn Gonzaga (Best Opposite Spiker).

Howard Mojica of NCAA champion Emilio Aguinaldo College won the Spikers’ Turf’s First Best Outside Spiker award, while teammate April John Pagtalunan was named Best Setter.

Others who won individual titles were NU’s Ricky Marcos (Best Libero) and Kim Malabunga (First Best Middle Blocker) and Reyson Fuentes of National College of Business and Arts (Second Best Middle Blocker).          


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