By Adrian Stewart Co
Bacolod Tay Tung High School Thunderbolts star Alyssa Bertolano chose to fulfill her dream of playing in the big leagues in Manila with the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons.
According to the 5-foot-7 Bertolano, offers handed by other schools were flattering but her desire to be coached by Kenyan mentor Godfrey Okumu led to her decision to commit to UP.
“I am flabbergasted when coach Okumu talked to me two years ago about going to UP. It was one of my dream schools for college. It is also my dream to play in Manila,” Bertolano told Watchmen Daily Journal on Thursday.
Bertolano was a decorated volleybelle having worn the Thunderbolts and Region 6 colors in tournaments such as Palarong Pambansa, National PRISAA, Akari National Finals, and Rebisco Volleyball League National Finals.
Okumu admitted that he has been going to and from Bacolod City several times the past few years just to check on the development of the Talisay City, Negros Occidental-native Bertolano.
“We have been interested in Alyssa since I first saw her play in 2018,” Okumu said. “One thing I like about Alyssa is her fighting spirit and also the leadership she showed while with Bacolod Tay Tung High School.”
“Her winning attitude in competing with Bacolod Tay Tung in various tournaments around the country will be an added plus for the Fighting Maroons,” added the Kenyan volleyball mentor.
Thunderbolts team manager Jose Montalbo lauded his prized player’s decision to commit to UP where she will join former Tay Tung teammates Marianne Sotomil, Jeanny Padilla and Joan Marie Monares.
“I am certain that Alyssa will be comfortable with UP since she has former Bacolod Tay Tung teammates there. I am just happy with coach Okumu’s trust in Bacolod Tay Tung’s volleyball program,” Montalbo said./ASC, WDJ