Rookies dominating the FIVB World Grand Prix

So there are so many rookies this year, well that’s kind of normal every after Olympics. But what’s very significant this year is that most of the rookies are the ones doing the job for their national squads. So far, I’ve been impressed with three and here are they:

3. Kim Hill (USA) – 6’4 Outside Hitter, 23 years old

Although she’s not really a rookie cause she’s kinda old, this is her first time to join the US National Squad. Although it is her first time, she has been impressive and has been posting solid numbers for the defending 3-peat champions. I was able to see her in a tune-up game against Japan a few weeks back and can’t help but be impressed with her athleticism. It would be interesting to see her get better in the coming years and I hope she can really be a monster inside the court. She’s very kind and she doesn’t really have swag. USA has a bright future especially if she will play with the likes of Destinee Hooker, Logan Tom, Foluke Akinradewo and others in the coming years.


2. Zhu Ting (China) – 6’3 Outside Hitter, 18 years old

Ahhh. She has impressed me so much the past games. She’s the reason why I’m not really hating that much on China right now a midst the massive trashtalking of Yunli Xu and Hui Ruoqi. Haha. But then again I can always appreciate talent like everyone else. I’ve always loved Yimei Wang. But damn, Zhu Ting just made me love China more. This girl has the potential to not just be Asia’s best but the world’s best player. I’m amazed with her leaping ability and power. Aside from these, she also has good blocking and floor defense. She’s like the Ms. Everything for China now. It would be interesting to see her in the next years.

Zhu Ting

1. Melissa Vargas (Cuba) – 6’1 Opposite, 13 years old

They say everyone can play volleyball. But not everyone can play great as young as 13 YEARS OLD. Yes, that has been the highlight of my tweets lately because I was so impressed at this girl! Although she’s the youngest player in the tournament, she has been posting impressive numbers. Truly remarkable was their game against Russia. She, I meant Cuba forced a strong Russia team to 4 sets. She was the top scorer of the match. Imagine that, beating her teammates who are mostly 20 years old and above. I’ve got to give it to her, she leaps high and she has the power. She has good blocking as well. Cuba’s future is safe with this kid especially if they will train her to become the next Regla Torres or Mireya Luis. Plus she’s 6’1 already at age 13 so she can still grow like 5-6 inches more. This would be interesting. I suggest you begin watching Cuba games. You’ll be amazed at what this kid can do! (Look at the pic and she looks like a kid talaga! Swear!)

Vargas 1

Impact Rookies of UAAP Season 76

So here we are again in the mysterious part of every UAAP Season; the guessing game as to how teams will perform in one season. Like I said, the incoming rookies in the UAAP Season 76 might just probably be the most talented batch in history. However, of course, they will still be tested when the real games begin. Some recruits indeed perform well in high school but mess up or adjusts longer than the others in college. Of course in the UAAP, composure and experience are really big factors. A rookie is still a rookie.

The impact players I’m going to post are derived from observations as to how they play in high school. Haha. I know I know. Some might call it hype or something but like I said I also see the potential in everyone that’s why I don’t consider anyone hype. They won’t be recruited if coaches never saw the potential in them to be developed or to be a good player. But definitely, this rookie batch is really worth something. This batch can even form two teams in the UAAP and still be competitive.


The list doesn’t necessarily mean that these players are not good. I put them here because I think the team they are joining in still has very good and experienced players or are still loaded in those positions. Believe me, these players are really good too.

10. Tricia Santos (UST) – 5’8 outside hitter

With the improvement of Pam Lastimosa, Mela Tunay and Gi Reyes, Tricia Santos really has to earn that spot. The talent is there because I have seen her play before in Angelicum. She will definitely be a star for UST someday, she just has to wait and be a role player for now because the three mentioned earned enough experience to be competitive for next year.

9. Rizza Amaro (FEU) – 5’6 middle blocker

While Rizza Amaro has the moves and the potential to be good, her height might be a hindrance. But nevertheless, she packs a lot of power and has good service. She reminds me so much of a smaller Marge Tejada. Same power and same service. Also worth mentioning is that she can lead her team well.

8. April Romero (UP) – 5’7 middle blocker

Power quicks and running attacks are what she will bring to the table. This girl plays a lot like the legendary Mhica Morada because she moves and spikes like her. One thing you’d notice when you see her play is that she has a right amount of swag. She does stare downs and trashtalks when needed.

7. Arriane Layug (DLSU) – 5’8 outside hitter

When I saw her play in the Shakey’s V-League and Palarong Pambansa, I knew she’d be recruited by one of the UAAP schools. Arriane plays a lot like Michele Gumabao. She is powerful and at the same time, smart. Blocking and serving are also her assets. If she will improve her floor defense, she will be one player to watch out for soon. Placed her here because DLSU still has Ara Galang, Des Cheng, Cyd Demecillo and Camille Cruz.

6. Jana Sta. Maria (FEU) – 5’8 middle blocker

Jana has very good movement in the court and has a good contact with the ball. Her big plus is that she can hit both quick and running attacks, which not every middle blocker in high school can do. The downside though is that Jana has to compete with national player Rem Palma and a good rookie Kath Barrinuevo for the spot. But let’s see how she will turn things around.

5. Alyssa Layug (UP) – 6’0 middle blocker

Her height is definitely a big asset. There was this one game in Palaro when she had 11 blocks in the game. That was probably one of the reasons why UP recruited her. If you guys still remember Utaiwan Kaensing, she plays exactly like her. With a good coach like Jerry Yee, let’s hope she will be turned into a middle monster someday. I put her here because UP will have loaded middles next year in Lamis El Sayed (if she is playing), Kathy Bersola and Nika Ong.

4. Glenda Agang (DLSU) – 5’7 middle blocker/outside hitter

Glenda caught my attention last January when she went here in Manila for the V-League. She has very good hitting and can see a lot of holes in the opponent’s court. She will be an asset to any team. The floor defense, blocking, serving and even leadership are there. Both the outside and middle positions are still loaded in the DLSU team that’s why I placed her here.

3. Jorelle Singh (NU) – 5’7 outside hitter

Jorelle Singh’s floor defense is really one of her big assets aside from her hitting and serving. She’d wow a lot of people with her power hits but sometimes when impatient with the defense of the opponent, she’d either make an error or get blocked. I put her here because aside from Aiko Urdas, Myla Pablo and Sheshe Dadang, winger Mina Aganon has improved a lot too.

2. Jema Galanza (AdU) – 5’7 outside hitter

What’s funny is that both Galanza and Singh are like twins because they play and look exactly alike. The difference lies now on the defense because Jema is more of a blocker than a floor defender. Jema Galanza is a big asset to Adamson but experienced players like Amanda Villanueva, Mayette Zapanta and Bang Pineda are still there which is why she still has to wait for a year before she can probably start.

1. Kim Dy (DLSU) – 5’10 middle blocker

Gameface/All Business is one thing you would notice when you see Kim Dy on the court. She is always serious and plays oh so well. Her running attacks are also efficient aside from her quick attacks. Blocking is definitely her big asset though. She’s not just tall but she has very good timing as well. I put her here because she has to contend against the like of Aby Marano and Mika Reyes who are both doing well in the middle. But, she might have a chance. I really think she has big potential.

Next pages: 16 players who will make an impact in the UAAP wars