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Underdog Jamie Solina braves PVL Combine to chase pro dream

Even with the odds stacked against her, Jamie Solina showcased unyielding resolve as she braved through the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Combine in pursuit of her lifelong dream.

Solina, a 5-foot-1 setter from Marinduque, entered the inaugural PVL Rookie Draft hoping to make it to the big league and fulfill her deep-seated desire to become a professional volleyball player.

Now, after overcoming several challenges in her young career, Solina finds herself knocking at the door of the country’s only professional volleyball league.

“Sobrang saya po kasi nung pagpasa ko po kasi ng requirements, parang sinabi ko, ‘no expectations,’ kasi siyempre we all know naman po na UAAP, NCAA [mga nagpasa],” she said during the first day of the Combine at the Gameville Ball Park.

“So nung nakita ko po ‘yung mga [nakapasok], sobrang answered prayer po kasi talagang pinag-pray ko po ‘yun,” Solina added.

Solina never imagined herself rubbing shoulders with some of the Philippines’ brightest collegiate stars today.

Still, she has made it despite numerous setbacks that almost forced her to stop pursuing her dream.

The young playmaker had been playing volleyball for nine years in Quezon City before a family problem forced her to move to Caloocan, and then Marinduque. She spent two years in the province before returning to chase her dream anew.

“Nung elementary po ako hanggang Grade 9 po is dito po ako sa Maynila. Naglalaro po ako sa QC, tapos napunta po akong Caloocan. Unexpected din po nangyari sa family namin kaya nag-two years ako sa Marinduque po,” shared Solina.

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“Then since sa sobrang pagmamahal ko po sa sports, and gusto ko maging pro po, nag-try out po ako, nag-senior high po ako sa Makati po. Paiba-iba po ako ng school,” she added.

Solina went back to the Metro to try out for UAAP and NCAA teams, but the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on her aspirations.

FILE-PHOTO-Jamie-Solina Underdog Jamie Solina braves PVL Combine to chase pro dream News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

(C) Jamie Solina

“Nung magka-college na po ako, gusto ko po sana mag-try out sa UAAP or NCAA kaso nagka-pandemic po. Wala po akong nagawa since wala rin po ako gano’n kakilala,” she recalled.

Eventually, she found herself studying at Marinduque State University. Even though the school doesn’t have a women’s volleyball program, Solina’s determination to realize her goal of becoming a professional volleyball player never wavered.

She did self-training for almost four years, using everything she learned in high school to keep herself in shape. Solina also kept in touch with some of her friends in Manila to ask for tips and advice.

“Kahit sa Marinduque pa rin po ako nag-college, ta’s walang women’s volleyball doon, to be honest, so puro ako self-training, four years po,” said Solina, who is one of the three provincial draft applicants in the first-ever PVL Rookie Draft.

“So kung ano lang po ‘yung naiwan sa aking experience nung junior high ako saka senior high na dalawang taon, ‘yun po lang ‘yung ginamit ko all throughout nung college ko po para maging kondisyon pa rin po ‘yung katawan ko kahit wala po akong exposure sa malalaking competitions po,” she continued.

Growing up far from the bright lights of the UAAP and the NCAA, Solina knows that the climb towards her long-held dream will be a hard one.

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But the product of Marinduque State University is still hard at work, pushing through despite the odds as she knows that what she is trying to achieve is much, much bigger than her own personal dream.

Jamie-Solina-and-Jia-Morado Underdog Jamie Solina braves PVL Combine to chase pro dream News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

(C) Jamie Solina

“May part po sa akin na pinaghihinaan po ako parang ngayon, kasi siyempre ‘yung height po ba… But because of ‘yung mga taong nagtitiwala sa akin, [napu-push] ako na kayanin ko kasi marami pong nagtitiwala sa akin,” said Solina, who revealed that she idolizes Alas Pilipinas setter Jia De Guzman.

“Sobrang ‘yun po ‘yung nagpa-boost sa akin na sige, ituloy ko, kasi ‘yun din po ‘yung magiging inspirasyon din po ng mga mas bata sa akin na nagba-volleyball, lalo na galing probinsya po. So sobrang gandang experience po,” she continued.

“Kung magkaroon ‘man po ng opportunity na matanggap po ako, paghihirapan ko naman po. Naniniwala naman po ako na lahat ng nangyayari, sa training din po talaga pino-program, inaayos.”

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