MANILA, Philippines — Bella Belen had a night to remember on Tuesday.
Not old did the 19-year-old spiker make history as the first-ever women’s volleyball player to win the Season MVP, Rookie of the Year, and 1st Best Outside Hitter at the same time, but Belen also helped steer National University to a perfect Season 84 for the Lady Bulldogs’ first title in 65 years.
But after achieving so many things in her rookie season, Belen remains eager to be better as a player and deliver more titles for the Lady Bulldogs.
“Siguro po kailangan magtrabaho pa po ako at hindi ako huminto sa kung ano nakuha ngayon. Sabi po kasi ng coach namin before, kada araw may pinapanganak sa amin na mas magaling,” said Belen after scoring 16 points in NU’s 25-15, 25-15, 25-22 victory over La Salle in Game 2 on Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“Dapat hindi po ako nasa-satisfy sa kung anong meron ako ngayon. Rookie-MVP ako ngayon, so bukas, may mas gagaling pa sa akin,” she added
[I need to keep on working. I won’t stop after all of my achievements today. Because my coach told me before, that every day there are better people than us who are born. I should not be satisfied. I’m a rookie-MVP today. But tomorrow I will do better.]
Belen, who was a runaway statistical leader with 99.574 points, was in shock at what she had just achieved all in one day–and that also includes a 30-game winning streak, counting the 14-0 sweep she pulled off with Nazareth School in the UAAP girls’ division in 2019.
“I can’t explain what I’m feeling. I am so happy because the history that we once dreamt for NU is now a reality,” she said.
Besides coming off a solid and successful high school program, Belen also attributed their success to her Philippine women’s volleyball stint with teammates Jennifer Nierva, Ivy Lacsina, and Kamille Cal in the Asian Women’s Club Championship in Thailand last year.
“We’re thankful also for all the lessons from the AVC. We were able to bring it in the UAAP and share the level of international play with our teammates,” she said. “We made our standards higher in playing in the UAAP.”
After all their hardships and sacrifices playing in these trying times, Belen will take a well-deserved rest and watch the Volleyball Nations League men’s division as a fan of Ran Takahashi of Japan this week at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Accomplishing a historic 16-0 feat, the Rookie-MVP said the best is yet to come for the Lady Bulldogs.
“We may have a 16-0 sweep but that doesn’t mean we will stop working. I believe that the best is yet to come for NU because we are a hardworking team. If you can see our training, everyone wants to compete and doesn’t want to lose. We always help each other for our improvement,” Belen said.
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