Volleyball is a team sport, but there will be one player that will stand out from the rest of the squad. UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament is already halfway done, complete with heart-stopping upsets, and drama on and off the court.
Before the collegiate league kicks off the second round, let's see who are the top performers for each team during the opening half of eliminations.
NU Lady Bulldogs - Jaja Santiago
The NU alpha is arguably the best spiker in the country today. The lanky teenager-turned-do-it-all hitter stood tall for her team—Santiago has a total of 141 points, from 111 kills, 20 blocks, and 10 service aces at the end of the first round. The national team member is only second to UST spitfire Sisi Rondina (151 points, 136 attacks, four blocks, 11 SA). The Lady Bulldogs lead the league with a 6-1 win-loss card, its best start since Season 76.
De La Salle Lady Spikers - Kim Dy
KKD's shining moment came when she delivered seven of La Salle's 12 blocks in their win over archrival Ateneo last Saturday. Dy lived up to her words after telling coach Ramil de Jesus that she will bounce back from that Adamson loss a week ago. The defending champions are tied with FEU (5-2) for the second spot.
FEU Lady Tamaraws - Bernadeth Pons
Currently No. 4 in scoring, Pons has also been effective in digging and receiving, where she's third after liberos Dawn Macandili (DLSU) and Kath Arado (UE). The graduating outside hitter has 112 points, from 106 kills, two blocks, and four service aces, but her defensive efficiency is what's more impressive. Pons has a 3.59 average dig and 47.26 excellent reception efficiency rate per set.
Ateneo Lady Eagles - Jhoana Maraguinot
Dubbed the heiress to the throne left by former Queen Eagle Alyssa Valdez, Maraguinot has led Ateneo to four wins after early defeats. The Batangas native is fifth in scoring with 94 spikes, six blocks, and seven SA.
Adamson Lady Falcons - Jema Galanza
Coming from a major injury she sustained during an off-season tournament, the Adamson star is playing as if she never got hurt. Galanza is currently No. 7 in spiking and digging, as well as fifth in reception. She has a 30.35 success rate in spikes, an average of 2.69 dig per set, and 42.39 efficiency rate in reception for the 3-4 Lady Falcons.
UST Golden Tigresses - Sisi Rondina
Adamson coach Air Padda once called her a "fireball." Indeed, with her powerful attacks and boundless energy, the dynamo from Cebu lived up to the billing. The pint-sized outside hitter stood 10 feet tall as she leads all scorers, ahead of NU stalwart Jaja Santiago. Rondina is second in spiking with a 40.60 success rate, and fifth in digging with 2.85 average per set.
UP Lady Fighting Maroons - Diana Carlos
Tots ended up as the No. 3 in the league with a total of 135 points—119 attacks, eight blocks and eight service aces. The UP standout is also fourth in spiking with a 32.25 success rate. Carlos put up a personal best 32 points, from 27 hits, three blocks, and two SA, in their win over UST.
UE Lady Warriors - Kath Arado
In a sport where attacks are rewarded, libero Arado is a star in her own right, a diamond in the rough at that. The UE defense specialist is No. 2 in digging with 6.64 average per set. Her record is .15 shy of DLSU counterpart Dawn Macandili (6.79), but she leads in reception with 52.43 efficiency rate compared to the latter's 50.00.