October 04, 2023

Volleybelles for a cause: PVL athletes who also serve off-court

Volleybelles for a cause: PVL athletes who also serve off-court
One Sports

The PVL is an incredible platform for volleyball athletes, giving them opportunities to branch out and even expand their brand. For some stars, they use this as a chance to pay it forward.

Here are some athletes who have used their influence to show that the heart of volleyball can be felt outside the turf.

Aby Maraño (F2 Logistics Cargo Movers)

Volleyball athletes in the Philippines are adored not just for their skills in the court but for the looks they serve as well. That's why it is actually quite liberating that Tyang Aby is so open about her psoriasis. The skin condition in itself is neither dangerous nor contagious, but it does leave a lot of marks that some would consider as imperfections. The key, Tyang says, is to try and minimize stress.

"Support whatever it is that’s distressing them rather than creating stress for them," she says. "As a psoriasis patient, I am calling my skin mates to have faith. Be happy. Choose your battles as you choose to be strong all the time. Hold your tears—hold on tight. We’ve got a lifetime battle to fight and survive."

Bea De Leon (Choco Mucho Flying Titans)

"I wasn't awarded with the scholarship I was aiming for—but glad to know that you want me, Ateneo." 

It was this tweet from volleyball fan Raphaella Ayen Retuta that caught the attention of Choco Mucho captain Bea de Leon. While Ayen graduated high school with honors, she could not get a scholarship grant at Loyola due to the limited slots. BDL herself got an athletic scholarship, which she did not originally want to avail of, according to the school. But she took it anyway, thinking she could pay it forward in the future.

Ayen's tweet was Bea's answer.

Hopefully, she will just be the first of many to avail the Bea de Leon Scholarship.

Alyssa Valdez (Creamline Cool Smashers)

The Phenom is undoubtedly setting an example with her sunny disposition and her forever easygoing relationship with fans. The Creamline captain has put this influence to good use, participating in the "Volleyball Gives Back" initiative that tries to have a positive community impact, an effort that was noted by the Olympics itself.

She is also an activist, even encouraging youth voters to take part in the parallel count with Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting or PPCRV.

Nicole Tiamzon (Petro Gazz Angels)

Perhaps the best player to embody the word "service" is Nicole Tiamzon, the founder and director of Spike and Serve Philippines.

They are hard at work forging relationships with companies to establish grassroots sports programs. And that's what most kids need: a path towards focus, fitness, and discipline; an opportunity to find and discover what they love; and a shot to fulfill their dreams.

It's a chance, essentially, to give it their best spike.