Alyssa Valdez was a force to be reckoned with during her final year in Ateneo, winning the UAAP Season 78 Season Most Valuable Player award on top of three more individual plums.
But she did not get the ending that hoped for as her Ateneo squad fell to arch-rival La Salle during her send-off.
Deadly as she is, that loss in her final year fueled Valdez to improve her craft even more. And so, Valdez decided that she wanted a change of scenery which led to a stint in Thailand.
“One thing na nagustuhan ko talaga when I’m in Thailand was to get that experience na mag training talaga kasi after that Season 78 na game I felt like I really needed something na makakapag improve pa ako sa volleyball and I chose that path to train in Thailand.
“I’m not really aiming na makalaro ako, it’s really more of ma-expose sa training doon,” shared Valdez in an episode of Volleyball DNA hosted by Denden Lazaro and Anton Roxas.
After two conferences in the V-League, the hard-hitting daughter of San Juan, Batangas signed with 3BB Nakornnont in January of 2017 to play in the Thai-Denmark Super League with the hopes of polishing her play.
At one point, Valdez didn’t even care if she’ll suit up for as long as she could train her heart out with the team. There’s also this once instance where she slipped hard to the floor during a one-man drill and no one helped her up, but she still continued as nothing happened – a testament to her drive to become better.
“It was really for me a good decision din to get away from here sa Manila kasi yun nga, gusto ko ibang environment yung tipong yung tingin talaga sakin is hindi ako si Alyssa Valdez or someone na marunong mag volleyball,” she said.
“That’s the first time also na hindi ako nafi-first six ulit, parang sobrang… I was really driven to train nung nasa Thailand ako, twice a day, thrice a day, I don’t really care basta nakakatrain ako and it doesn’t matter kung papaglaruin ako.”
Up until this day, Valdez has no regrets, saying that going to Thailand is one of the best decisions she ever made in her entire career. And it definitely shows.
The 5-foot-9 outside hitter joined expansion team Creamline in her return to the country. And after two bronze finishes, Valdez went on to lead the team to three of the last four league titles – cementing her legacy as one of the best volleyball players in Philippine history.
“I felt like I was a rookie talaga. Like literally. It was a new environment, new team, and we’re lucky enough na same yung system ni coach Tai [Bundit] saka ni coach M [Lt. Thanakit Inleang] but, I’m still culture shocked kasi siyempre out of my comfort zone talaga and I’m away from home.”