Winless V-League stint no dampener for Baguio's Colleen Rossi as she graduates with honors
Colleen Rossi is pleasantly surprised to graduate with honors after juggling volleyball and her studies. Jerome Ascano

BAGUIO may not have won a single game yet in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference but spiker Colleen Rossi remains a winner off the court.

After their match against Bali Pure on Wednesday, the 20-year-old Rossi shared to a handful of sportswriters that she is about to earn her undergraduate degree in Biology at St. Louis University. The best part? She's graduating with honors, which comes as a pleasant surprise to her..

“Bukas po ang graduation ko, excited nga po ako eh kasi po hindi ko in-expect (na cum laude ako),” said the giddy volleybelle.

“Kasi ang baba po ng grades ko simula noong nagti-training po kami sa SLU. At sa V-League, para pong bumaba lahat ng grades ko kaya yun po nagulat ako,” she added.

What makes the achievement more special for Rossi is the hardship and struggle she overcame just to complete her course. 

Rossi, who played for all the three SLU teams that participated in the past conferences, had to endure sleepless nights just to catch up with her studies and sacrifice a comfortable rest as they needed to travel roughly 247 km from Baguio to Manila and back every game.

“Ang hirap po na ipag-balance po ng studies at pagba-varsity,” she said. “Minsan po hindi ka na po matutulog kasi po may training the next day and kailangang gumising ng umaga. ‘Yun po ang mga kailangang i-sacrifice pero po na-balance naman po and cum laude [pa].”

“Medyo nakakapagod po talaga kasi iba po ang rest sa kama and iba po ‘yung tulog sa van tapos minsan po puyat. Pero tina-try po namin (na maglaro pa rin) kasi po love po namin ang volleyball,” added Rossi, whose father is half Italian.

Up next for her is pursuing a medical degree. While she hopes to try juggling her time between volleyball and medical school, Rossi knows it's a tougher task and she'll prioritize her studies first.

“Magmi-medicine po ako this coming school year sa St. Louis University,” she said. “Given a chance po sana kung pwedeng ipagsabay ulit, pero baka hindi na po kayanin.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada