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Incoming Olympian Lariba, volley phenom Valdez lead UAAP Athletes of the Year cast

Volleyball star Alyssa Valdez was named UAAP Athlete of the Year along with three others. (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Rising table tennis star Yan Lariba and volleyball hotshot Alyssa Valdez were named along with two others as UAAP Athletes of the Year at the formal close of UAAP Season 78 at the UP Bahay ng Alumni on Saturday night.

Lariba led La Salle to its second straight UAAP women's table tennis title while making history as the first Filipino to join the Olympic table tennis tournament.

Meanwhile, Valdez finished her stellar UAAP volleyball career with a bang, once again winning the league MVP honor in fashion.

However, her UAAP stint did not end well as La Salle snapped Ateneo's two-season championship streak and won their ninth women's volley plum.

Meanwhile, 2012 Olympian Jessie Lacuna also shared honor with schoolmate Valdez and Lariba for once again dominating the UAAP swimming scene even as Adamson's Queeny Sabobo, who led the softball team to another UAAP title, was also named Athlete of the Year.

Only Sabobo received her Athlete of the Year award as Lariba, Valdez, and Lacuna had to attend other matters on Saturday night.

Gelo Diamante, Palma feted for academic excellence

On the other hand, La Salle football star Gelo Diamante and FEU volleybelle Remy Palma led a cast of eight student-athletes who showcased brilliance academically while juggling with their varsity team duties.

Diamante made it to La Salle's Dean's List seven times despite having to balance his time with the Green Booters and even UFL side GAU.

Palma, meanwhile, was feted for balancing her role as the Lady Tamaraws' middle blocker and skipper and her strenuous psychology studies.

Adamson baller Simon Camacho, Ateneo swimmer and SEA Games participant Axel Ngui, also a consistent Dean's Lister, UE jin Karen Cells, NU paddler and prospective cum laude Cyrene Torres, UP jin and former high school valedictorian Janna Oliva, and UST fencer and Dean's Lister Noelito Jose also made the athlete scholar list.

In the said event, UP officially handed the hosting right to Season 79 host UST, formally ending Season 78 and starting the countdown to next season.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno