With its advocacy of promoting the Filipino athlete and the developing the grassroots program, Smart Sports continues its campaign of finding the model student-athletes that best represent the Smart Life in the UAAP.
UAAP Season 79 Men’s Beach Volleyball Most Valuable Player Kris Roy Guzman of the University of Santo Tomas
Kris Roy Guzman looked back at his coaches as he stepped on the service zone.
His coaches, along with a gallery of Thomasians, were telling him to keep calm and get this last point.
Why wouldn’t Guzman be calm?
It was championship point, after all. For the past three seasons, Guzman had reached the UAAP Beach Volleyball Tournament Finals.
But never championship point.
Guzman did manage to field his serve. But he and his nephew Anthony Arbasto needed a one more point before they could clinch the championship.
And when they did, it was glorious.
During his first two years in the UAAP sandcourts, Guzman had paired with the muscular Mark Alfafara only to lose in the Finals to National University’s Edwin Tolentino and Henry Tipay both times.
Last year was when Guzman and Arbasto first paired, again reaching the Finals to face Ateneo de Manila University’s Marck Espejo and Ysay Marasigan. The Tigers had worked themselves up a arduous stepladder Final Four, overcoming the twice-to-beat National University before meeting Ateneo. Having played a grueling gauntlet of games, the Tiger Spikers still managed to push the thrice-to-beat Eagles to a do-or-die tilt. But the Tigers ended up falling in the end.
For Season 79, Guzman and Arbasto had only one goal in mind: dominate.
En route to the Finals, the boys from España denied their opponents even a single set win and slayed some demons along the way. In their first match of the season, they smashed defending champion Ateneo. A few days later, the Tigers nipped the heavily-favored Bulldogs in decisive fashion.
Having earned an outright Finals berth, and facing a young Far Eastern University pair in the Finals, Guzman and Arbasto knew this was their best chance at a title. They just had to capitalize.
And when they won, Guzman let out three years worth of celebrations.
For two seasons, Guzman had been undeniably the most skilled beach volleyball player in the UAAP. He now gets recognized with his first MVP award.
“Thankful ako kay God kasi alam kong binibigay Niya ang challenge sa pinakamalakas Niyang tao. ‘Yung tatlong bridesmaid finish namin ‘yung nag-push at nag-motivate sa akin na gumaling pa para ma-deserve ko ‘tong championship at MVP,” a jubilant, sand-and-sweat soaked Guzman told Tiebreaker Times.
“Ginawa lang namin ‘yung kailangan naming gawin ni Krung (Arbasto). Nagtiwala lang kami sa isa’t isa. ‘Yun naman talaga ang kailangan para maging succesful sa beach volley.”
It was Guzman who had taught Arbasto to play beach volleyball during their first years in UST. Guzman has always dreamed of winning a title with his nephew. And when they achieved it yesterday, it was still surreal.
“Ang galing niya na, idol talaga,” the uncle said of his nephew. “Nakita ko talaga sa kanya na gusto niya gumaling at nakikinig siya sa akin at sa coaches talaga. Pero di pa ‘rin ako makapaniwala na nakaabot na kami dito.”
“Ito talagang championship na ‘to para talaga sa tito ko. Para makabawi siya sa mga downs niya noong nakaraan,” Arbasto replied.
Now holding the title, Guzman believes that real champions defend their belt.
“Next year babalik pa talaga kami. Last year ko na ‘rin. So hindi pa tapos. Enjoy muna kami ngayon then simula na ng training for next year.”