Valdez, Fronda lead top female best

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 19 2014 08:29 AM | Updated as of Mar 19 2014 04:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Ateneo’s volleyball star Alyssa Valdez and La Salle’s Women National Master Jan Jodilyn Fronda lead the candidates for the female Athlete of the Year (AoY) plum up for grabs in today’s UAAP Season 76 closing ceremonies at the Century Park Hotel’s Grand Ballroom.

The plum is handed out to the athletes who shone the brightest in local and international competitions.

Valdez, who steered the Lady Eagles to their first-ever women’s volleyball crown, and Fronda, a three-time MVP in chess, will be disputing the female AoY with other achievers in overseas competitions, including taekwondo jin Nicole Cham of UST and basketball player Camille Sambile of Far Eastern.

The 20-year-old Valdez is in contention not only for Ateneo’s historic title romp in widely-followed volleyball but also for donning the Philippines colors in the Asian Southeastern Zone Women’s Volleyball qualifiers in Quang Tri, Vietnam last July.

If ever, the pride of San Juan, Batangas could become the first to win the AoY in both the seniors and juniors divisions, having won the high school accolade as a spiker for University of Santo Tomas in 2008-09.

Fronda made a strong case for the plum when she placed 28th among 77 participants in the 2013 World Junior Chess Championship in Kocaeli, Turkey last November.

For her part, Cham snagged a bronze in the 4th Asian University Taekwondo Championship in Cheongyang, Korea while Sambile suited up for the Perlas Pilipinas squad that netted a silver in the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.

The AoY in the male division is expected to be contested by La Salle swimmer Johan Aguilar, University of the East fencer Michael Nicanor and FEU booter Paolo Bugas. Aguilar, a two-time MVP who’s also a consistent dean’s lister, represented Phl in the FINA World Cup while Nicanor saw action in the Asian Junior Championships in Jordan and Bugas had call-ups from the Azkals last year.

Aside from the top male and female athletes, La Salle will enjoy its crowning glory as winner of the UAAP general championship in the seniors division. The Green Archers and Lady Archers have won their second straight general championship after topping the race with 289 points.

UE will get a piece of the limelight as it receives the overall plum in the juniors division with their 139-point tally.

The league closes the curtains to a blockbuster season highlighted by the heart-stopping AdMU vs DLSU sudden death for the women’s volleyball crown witnessed by a record crowd of 21,314 people and a whopping 13.5 percent audience share on ABS-CBN 2.

Rendon will turn over the UAAP flag to Season 77 President Carmelita Mateo of UE to cap the last activity for the 2013-14 season.