MANILA -- Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles star Alyssa Valdez became the first co-recipient of the Xavier Athletic Achievement Award last Saturday, when she and former Ateneo basketball star, Kiefer Ravena, were honored during the annual bonfire held at the campus school grounds in Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
The men’s and women’s swimming, judo, and men’s volleyball teams were among the teams that bagged championships. Numerous other squads finished first runner-up including women’s volleyball, men’s football, and baseball to name a few.
According to Erika Dy, University Athletics Assistant Athletic Director, the award is "the highest honor an Atenean athlete can receive for his or her achievements in the course of their representation of the school. These athletes are recognized for their athletic excellence and for their serving as an ambassador for their respective sports that creates an impact not only for the Ateneo community but on the nation as well.”
“It is a honor to receive this,” said Valdez who clearly groped for words upon the awards conferment. “I went to Ateneo to get an education and to play volleyball. At that time, the program was just starting and we didn’t know if we’d win anything. Clearly, the championships are great but they are a bonus. This Xavier Award… very soon, I’l be getting my college diploma. This makes a good pair. Even better than the MVP Award.”
(READ: Valdez to play in V-League, no team yet)
During her five years playing for Ateneo, Valdez won two UAAP and two Shakey’s V-League championships and three UAAP Most Valuable Player Awards while wearing the blue and white.
She won numerous other awards and accolades including the Ms. Volleyball Award that was bestowed upon her by the Philippine Sportswriters Association for 2014-15.
“To this day, it feels weird to be given these awards and to hear people say that I am providing them inspiration,” added Valdez. “But of course, I am thankful for that. If I can provide that positive inspiration then it’s good.”
Valdez’ father, Ruel, was likewise tongue-tied after the proceedings.
“These are blessings,” was all he could offer as he held back the tears. “No regrets sending our daughter to Ateneo. It was the best thing to happen to her and for our entire family.”
Ravena wasn’t available as he is currently in the United States for additional basketball training.
The award was named after St. Francis Xavier, one of the companions of St. Ignatius de Loyola when he founded the Society of Jesus. Francis Xavier, was a high jumper at the University of Paris in 1525.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)