PROFESSIONAL VOLLEYBALL PLAYER
HITS THE BIG POINTS WHETHER ON COURT OR BY THE BEACH
So you watch volleyball—maybe for reasons other than the sport itself.
We get it. The women are such a joy to watch.
Nothing against the men’s volleyball team—they pack dynamite in their jumps and their kills, but… there’s the women’s volleyball team.
When these women do battle, you know that they own the court. Don’t you just love it when they fix their hair before the ball is served? Or how, whenever they score a point, they cry out in glee as high fives are given, the same glee that they express when, say, they see their bffs. It hurts to see them skid on the floor only to miss the ball, but you can’t help but think it’s badass, too.
It’s all right to admit that you barely understand what’s happening during a game; but when you get to watch these women in action, you can’t help but be invested in what they’re doing. That is why it helps that professional volleyball player and former Adamson Falcon Amanda Villanueva was able to talk about some game rudiments as we prepared for, not a game, but an FHM photo shoot, something we have all longed to see Amanda do apart from hitting balls on the court or at the beach.
“I’m an open spiker. What I do basically are digs and receives. As for the setters, siya yung kumbaga tinatawag na master of the game. Siya
ang may hawak ng game; she or he
controls it. If the libero or who’s at the back has no receive, automatically it would be the outside hitters. As for the quickers naman, the middle, they do blockings, that’s their specialty and they do very quick runs, quick plays para sirain ang momentum. In volleyball, it’s all about breaking the momentum. The goal is to confuse blockers, kailangan mawala mo sila.
Kapag yung play mo nag-work, isa lang yung blocker mo so it’s easier to kill.” Amanda explains.
She also explained to us why, when a volleyball coach calls time out, all he does is say, “relax lang kayo!” and nothing about setting up plays on a whiteboard like a basketball coach would.
“We also do strategic [plays], like place planning before the game. But during the game kasi that’s what coaches would usually do, help the team to relax and help them mentally.
Yun lang ang nakikita ng mga tao on cam,” Amanda says.
If you’ve been following UAAP women’s volleyball you know that Amanda was Queen Falcon during her time as an athlete in Adamson University. And many people would agree that she wasn’t just the school’s top player, she was also its face.
“I consider my time in Adamson as one of the highlights of my volleyball career, kasi nag-champion kami. We really worked hard for it. We trained twice a day—beach volley in the morning and then indoor in the afternoon until evening. It was a routine: you wake up, you play beach volley, you eat, you go to school and then after, indoor naman,” Amanda recalls.
Interestingly, volleyball wasn’t Amanda’s first sport.
“I used to play badminton and I tried playing tennis as well but they didn’t work out. When I got into volleyball in high school, that’s when I realized I liked the idea of team dynamics. I didn’t like badminton so much kasi parang there was no fun
kasi individual sport. When I tried volleyball na group sport sobrang
nag-enjoy ako. I’ve been playing for 10 years now and I still enjoy it, the feeling is still the same as when I started,” Amanda says.
Amanda is also known to make a killing at the beach volleyball circuit. While she excels both on court and on shore, she has a soft spot for beach volley.
“I like it kasi sobrang chillax. It’s also easier to communicate as we play the game, kasi you only have a partner, syempre sa indoor there’s 14 of you. Sa beach, I just need to build my relationship with my partner and we’re set to go. Also—let’s let’s put it this way—i feel sexy when I play beach volley. I can express myself more,” Amanda says.
And it shows. Taut body, tanned skin, graceful movement—amanda has it in spades. But what we don’t see is the higher level of difficulty she faces when playing beach volley.
“You need to consider a lot of things, like the elements: the air, the sun, the sand. You can’t run as fast or jump as high, you need to carry your legs. The gameplay is also very different; beach volley is slower,” Amanda says.
Apart from playing, Amanda is now also involved in developing Adamson’s sports program, not only for volleyball but also for basketball and the pep squad.
“I help in their recruitment, in scouting players. What I look for, apart from skills, is the winning attitude. I don’t just get you because you’re great but because I want you to be great. I want to see consistency—like, you need to accept the role that’s given to you and you have to play your best every day. Hindi yung, I’m going to do it today, pero tomorrow, hindi na. Sport is really all about consistency,” Amanda says.
If it isn’t a career in sports still after her tour of duty in volleyball, Amanda would probably do well being a photographer, even if it does appear that she also excels at being the camera’s subject (as you can see here).
“I like photography so much and I’d like to learn more [techniques]. I like street photography, specifically—i like to explore the human element and the full range of emotions. I especially like it when my subject’s eyes are very expressive,” Amanda says.
By how she talks to herself, we don’t think that Amanda realizes that she’s one of the most popular and beautiful women in Philippine volleyball today. “Di naman ha ha! Hindi! Simple lang tayo. Well, minsan ang weird ng feeling, like, when we go to the provinces and they’re like, screaming, and ako parang, ‘aww, I’m so touched.’ Kasi for me, I’m not after naman the fame, I’m after inspiring people. Nagkataon lang siguro na ang daming magagandang volleyball players so ikaw, ang feeling mo, maganda ka na rin ha ha!”