Every PH volleyball fan who is worth his salt knew that Isa Molde was extraordinary even before she set foot on the big stage of the UAAP.
Due to her outstanding performance in the 2015 off-season tournaments, Molde was tagged in pre-season predictions as an immediate frontrunner in Season 78 rookie race.
With this in mind, there was not much surprise when the news broke online that the outside hitter will be receiving the prestigious Rookie of the Year award Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
What was surprising—and refreshing—was Molde’s skepticism on being rewarded as the best among a talented batch of new blood.
“Nalaman ko nung lumabas sa Twitter. Pero sabi ko hindi pa naman totoo ‘to. Wala pa namang official na sinasabi kaya wag muna isipin. Hindi ko in-expect,” shared the spiker. “Na-confirm ko nung Monday. Nagugulat din ako na may nagco-congrats.”
Though the humility is expected from such a young player, it does not make Molde any less deserving of the award after leading UP in scoring.
Aside from playing a big role in snapping what was a 12-year semis drought by finishing the 2016 campaign in fourth place, Molde also made history by being the first-ever Lady Maroon to be awarded the Rookie of the Year plum.
“Masaya kasi sabi nila ako daw ‘yung first from UP na nag Rookie of the Year. Ang sarap sa feeling na nakaka-overwhelm,” she shared.
On sharing the recognition with the rest of the Diliman crew, she says, “Hindi lang ako ‘to. Sila din ‘to. Sila ‘yung kasama ko naglaro. Kahit na nada-down ako sila ‘yung nag-aangat sa akin every game.”
And while the award alone is already monumental, it was made more special by the attendance of Molde’s mother and sister, who both reside in their hometown in Cebu.
The Hope Christian High School alum was seen running to hug her family immediately after the awarding ceremonies.
“Nagulat na lang ako na nandyan siya. Tinanong ko kasi siya ng tinanong kung pupunta ba siya dito. Sabi niya, ‘Hindi na. Wala kaming pera,’” shared Molde. “First time niya talagang pumunta dito ng UAAP. Last ata na pumunta siya dito V-League.”
Molde’s name will now be said in the same breath as former ROY awardees and legendary UAAP players like Ging Balse, Sue Roces, Charo Soriano, Melissa Gohing and Ara Galang among others. — By Mac Dionisio