For Air Force’s reliable spiker Jocemer Tapic, Ging Balse is the greatest volleyball player of all-time.
Though she might seem like playing favorites with her fellow Davaoeña, the unassuming middle blocker, who helped the Jet Spikers turn back powerhouse Pocari Sweat Monday, swears by the greatness she has witnessed in the former UST star.
“Idol ko si Ate Ging (Balse). Palagi ko siyang inaabangan dati sa TV. Pag napapanood ko siya sinasabi ko sa sarili ko: ‘Sana makapunta din ako dyan.’ Na-inspire niya ako,” she told FOX Sports, wide-eyed.
While a younger set of stars have already taken over the start, the contribution of Balse to the growth of volleyball over the years remains to be an inspiration to the ones who saw the its rise in both the level of competitiveness and its popularity.
Known to be an all-around player who has been tapped as the youngest national team player during her prime, Balse left a mark especially in the heart of Tapic even up to now when the Philippine Army star has bid volleyball goodbye temporarily in anticipation of her first baby.
“Alam ko na na pag siya ang papalo patay na ang bola. Para sa akin siya ang best. Siya lang talaga ang idol ko sa lahat ng players,” she said.
Talking about Balse’s younger sister who also played for UST back in Season 69, she adds: “‘Yung kapatid niya, si Cherry Anne, naging teammate ko siya. Middle blockers kami parehas nun. Magaling din si Ate Che.”
Having learned to play the sport efficiently since grade school, it was no surprise when Tapic shared that she was being recruited by FEU after her high school graduation.
Explaining her decision to stay put in Tagum City and finish her studies at Jose Maria College, the 5-foot-9 spiker shared that back then, she simply did not want to be too far away from her family.
“May kumukuha po sa akin nung pa-college na ako. Nire-recruit po ako ng FEU,” she said. “Kaya lang ayaw ko mapalayo sa family ko. Gusto kong mag focus sa volleyball na malapit lang sa amin. Tsaka kasi maraming kakumpitensya dito sa Manila.”
She may not have gotten the chance to showcase her talents in one of the top collegiate tournaments in the country but 4 years later, Tapic eventually got a chance to play in the big stage when the Davao Agilas, a team made up of standouts from the south, debuted in the V-League back in 2014.
Now that she is slowly making a name for her self in the local scene, Tapic leaves no room in her heart for regret even after turning down the offer to be a Lady Tamaraw.
“Wala pong regret. Happy naman ako kasi nakapaglaro naman ako dito sa V-League. Pangarap ko ito eh, makapag V-League. Natupad na ngayon kaya sobrang saya ko kasi na-fulfill na siya,” she shared.
On how she compares to her idol Balse, Tapic humbly closed by saying: “Hindi naman ako masyadong malakas. Siguro tiwala lang sa sarili na gusto ko umangat.” — By Mac Dionisio