MANILA, Philippines – Bella Belen’s determination to win the National University’s first UAAP women’s volleyball title since 1957 led to her outstanding performance in her rookie year.
In Saturday Mall UAAP Season 84 Women’s Volleyball Final Game 1, Belen, an MVP and the best candidate of the year, Lady Bulldogs 25-20, 25-12, 25-21, awarded 15 points for dominating the Lady Spyker Asia Arena.
“I just play my game. Our goal is to win the championship this season. If we ever get a special prize, it’s a bonus for us, an extra trophy for our hard work, “said Belen in the Filipino after pushing Lady Bulldogs to victory near a perfect season.
The 19-year-old received the MVP mantra from NU fans in the final opener, but he focused laser-sharp to meet his goal.
“I heard them cheering. But I’m focused on the game, “said Belen, who made a strong case for the MVP and top rookie award in the elimination round.
The former UAAP girls’ MVP was in the top 10 in five of the seven skills categories. His teammates were also outstanding, with Lams Lamina leading the race for the best setter, Alyssa Solomon as the best attacker and Libero Jane Nierva as the best receiver after 14 games.
NU coach Carl Dimakulangan, who himself was an MVP and completed a perfect season as a player at the University of Santo Thomas, said the outstanding season for Belen and his teammates was the result of their work ethic.
“All of them have a winning attitude in training. I really appreciate their work ethic. For Bella, she just has to keep up the good work and enjoy her game, “said Dimakulangan.
Belen is happy to have helped NU get this far, along with her high school classmates Lamina, Solomon and Shina Turing.
“I’m happy because I’m still with my high school peers to make history for NU,” he said.
But the work has not yet been done as Belen and Lady Bulldogs are trying to win the Season 84 crown in Game 2 on Tuesday.
“We have to work on training again because there were some moments in Game One that we slowed down and dropped free points,” he said.
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