“A force in the middle,” is how her Facebook fan page describes the former St. Scholastica’s College, Manila volleyball statuesque, Mika Aereen Reyes.
Only an inch shy from being a six-footer, and still growing, this 5’11 stand-out is one of the most anticipated rookies of this year’s DLSU women’s volleyball line-up.
This first year AB-PSM volleybelle, will be filling in the big shoes left by last season’s MVP Jacqueline Alarca. Still a raw middle blocker-hitter, Reyes is poised to provide an added ceiling in the Lady Spikers’ frontline defense.
17-year old Reyes was not always athletic; she only started spiking and hitting volleyballs during her freshmen year in high school.
“Nung first year ako, as in totally wala akong alam (During my first year, I really did not know how to play). 1st [and] 2nd year, hindi pa ako ganun karunong maglaro, pero nung 3rd and 4th year dun na ako nakakalaro (In my first and second year, I knew little about the game, but during my third and fourth year, I was playing already. ),” Reyes shares.
She learned the ropes of the center position, and maximized her obvious height advantage among peers.
Soon enough, Reyes earned her first athletic award for volleyball, the Women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 41 Best Blocker in her last playing year for St. Scholastica.
During her pre-season stints in the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PFV) Intercollegiate Championship and PVF National Open Volleyball Championship, Reyes reinforced the Lady Spikers’ blocking department while chipping in points from her promising quick attacks and drop shots.
“Ang hirap ng nakalaban ko (My opponents are difficult to beat). Nagulat ako, first time kong makipag-laban sa isang international team (I was shocked because it was my first time to compete against an international team). Collegiate team nga hirap na hirap na ako, international team pa (Collegiate teams were hard to beat already),” Reyes shares.
The transition from high school to collegiate volleyball may not be as smooth, but with her dedication, tenacity and Coach Ramil de Jesus’ mentorship, Reyes is definitely the next force to reckon with.
Men’s Volleyball: Kim Reginald Relcopan
Who would have thought that from playing volleyball for fun five years ago, Kim Reginald Relcopan would steer the UE boys’ volleyball squad to its seventh straight title?
“I did not like volleyball [before]. It [only] started as a trip,” expressed rookie Relcopan.
At grade six, Relcopan was encouraged by his friends to try volleyball; he eventually developed a passion for the sport.
He possessed athleticism, jumping prowess and high volleyball IQ, and soon became a school’s volleyball household name.
From that time on, his awards and trophies never ceased to multiply.
He was the Rookie of the Year awardee in his maiden year, and was hailed Season 73 Best Server and Most Valuable Player, after completing a 10-game sweep en route to the UE’s 10th over-all boys’ division crown; he was also one of the top candidates for last year’s Juniors Athlete of the Year.
This 5’9 open hitter was a mainstay of the NCR delegation in the annual Palarong Pambansa, where he was saluted Best Spiker of the tournament.
These feats alone were the cause of numerous offers from prestigious universities such as Ateneo, UST, FEU, NU, UP and UE. Instead, this 16-year old neophyte opted for DLSU to fulfill his childhood dream to play for the University.
This AB-SPM student spends his leisure time playing basketball and billiards. For him, time management is the key to a productive college life and a sane volleyball career.
Recolpan is keeping his fingers crossed as he plans to shift to a business course in the near future.
Alongside three other rookies, they will complement the team’s veterans; they hope for a better championship run this UAAP season, after a fourth place finish.
Now that he’s wearing the Green-and-White uniform, he just has one goal in mind, “Eyes on the prize.”
Chess: Aglipay Oberio
At the age of five, Green Woodpushers newest acquisition Aglipay Oberio had already started puzzling the black and white chess pieces. At this early age, he was playing blitz games against college students. Through the instructions and guidance of his father, an Aglipayan Bishop in Davao, he discovered his innate passion and talent in this square-checkered board game.
At 15, the Samal, Davao’s chess standout brought pride to the country after bagging gold and a team silver medal in the 11th ASEAN +Age-group chess championships.
Besides his board and pieces, this 17-year old Mechanical Engineering frosh is an active member of their community. He served as the Sangguniang Kabataan Vice Chairman of their barangay.
This rookie chess wonder does not only excel in eight-by-eight board duel; he represented Nieves Villarica National High School in various journalism and mathematics competition. Oberio was also a part of their student government.
Offers came left and right when this Philippine chess master aspirant graduated from high school. Schools from his hometown, Davao, also called their offers, but Oberio chose to study in DLSU because of its academic standards. Moreover, his Davao Coach Ariel Nino Aton, who also played for DLSU Green Woodpushers in its unprecedented six-peat, title inspired him to go green.
As he settles at Taft Ave., this recent Shell National Youth Active Chess grand champion is set to help the Green-and-White squad move their black and white pieces towards a centennial championship.
“I will do my best to be competent in my games and strive for excellence this year for the honor that I can give La Salle… I will prove that I deserve to be a part of this centennial batch,” the Woodpusher rookie ends.
Chiara Nadinne Linoco is one of the newest additions to the Lady Fencers this year.
She is a 17-year old Siena College Quezon City graduate; she is currently taking up AB-Literature.
Licono shares that her brothers introduced fencing to her; her brothers were coaches for a Fencing Summer Sports Clinic back in 2006.
She then became interested in the sport, and joined both minor and major competitions. She joined the Philippine National Games last May 2011, where she won a bronze medal for a team event; Licono also played for the Asian Juniors and Cadets last 2010.
The Lady Fencer rookie proudly says that she can help the DLSU Fencing team win the gold this season for a team event. She aims to be hailed as this year’s Rookie of the Year.
Licono shares that she enjoys the company of her teammates and the coaching staff; they motivate her to win, and to defeat the stronger teams.
She believes in her motto, life’s greatest memories are made up of once in a lifetime opportunities.
The DLSU fencing team is now practicing from Monday to Friday, during the afternoon and evening, to shape up for the upcoming second half of the UAAP Season 74.