Volleyball: How Alyssa Valdez, Denden Lazaro stay motivated during quarantine

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 21 2020 04:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Even top level athletes like volleyball stars Alyssa Valdez and Denden Lazaro-Revilla are prone to feeling lethargic once in a while - especially during the quarantine period.

Fortunately for the former Ateneo players, they have workout partners who make sure to keep them motivated whenever they start to feel sluggish.

In an appearance on the "Crossover" podcast presented by SMART, Valdez and Lazaro-Revilla acknowledged that the recent lockdown brought about by the novel coronavirus pandemic had quite the impact on their daily routines.

"It's really hard," said Valdez, the ace spiker of the Creamline Cool Smashers. "Usually, the whole year naglalaro (ako), with PVL, national team. (I play) all throughout the year, training twice a day."

At the start of the lockdown, Valdez kept a positive mindset. She saw the break as an opportunity to rest after years of non-stop action inside the volleyball court. 

As the lockdown dragged on, however, even the usually optimistic Valdez experienced a change in mindset.

"Noong na-extend na siya nang na-extend, parang nade-demotivate ka na rin to work out. Kasi you don't know, 'yung uncertainty kung kelan babalik 'yung team training and tournament," she admitted.

It was a sentiment shared by Lazaro-Revilla, her former teammate in the Ateneo Lady Eagles. The veteran libero had stopped playing volleyball before, when she attended med school after her collegiate career. 

But that break was something she did as a choice; the lockdown-induced inactivity was another matter entirely.

"Like what Alyssa said, may times na mawawalan ka ng gana because of the situation. So much uncertainty, and you don't know when training is gonna resume, when the league is gonna resume," said Lazaro-Revilla, who is now signed to the Choco Mucho Flying Titans.

"So, there are times na you'll feel down. Parang may times ako, wala akong gana to do anything, actually," she added.

Valdez and Lazaro-Revilla were both supposed to start playing in May, but the opening of the Premier Volleyball League has been pushed back to September at the earliest.

Regardless, the two have continued to work out and prepare, with the help of their teammates and partners who play a big role in keeping them motivated.

"I'm lucky lang din na I'm surrounded by people na sobrang competitive, very athletic, so napu-push din ako to really work out every single day," said Valdez.

Valdez has been training with her boyfriend, Kiefer Ravena, and they have gone viral for their unique drills. Recently, the two posted videos showing off their vertical leap, with Valdez converting a dunk on the Ravena family's hoop.

She and her Creamline teammates also hold Zoom meetings regularly where they conduct virtual training sessions.

Like the Cool Smashers, Lazaro-Revilla and the Flying Titans also work out together in the virtual sphere. And like Valdez, the libero counts on her significant other, LA Revilla, to fire her up whenever she starts to feel sluggish.

"Buti na lang I have good teammates, we encourage each other when we have team meetings. Luckily, I have LA na sinasabayan ko mag-work out," said Lazaro-Revilla, who tied the knot with her longtime beau in January.

Though they keep themselves in shape should their leagues get the go-signal to resume, both Valdez and Lazaro-Revilla know that feeling lethargic or unmotivated is not unique to them.

"I think that's normal with what's happening," said Lazaro-Revilla.

"It's not just physical," she added. "It's also mental and emotional, 'yung effect ng pandemic na 'to, especially (to) a lot of athletes."

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).