MANILA, Philippines — As an unheralded player from Cebu, the odds were stacked against Danivah Aying in the inaugural PVL Rookie Draft.

But that didn’t stop her from achieving her dream on Monday night.

With most of the teams already passing up on their picks, Galeries made the final selection, drafting Aying from the University of San Jose-Recoletos in the fourth round as the 23rd overall pick. Of the 47 aspirants–led by top pick and former La Salle star Thea Gagate–24 went undrafted.

Aying may be the final pick of the 2024 class but her moment was the most inspiring selection of the night as she shed tears when her name was called by Commissioner Sherwin Malonzo while all the league officials, organizers, teams, and other rookies showered her with applause.

“Super overwhelming po siya para sa akin kasi nga, zero expectations po talaga ako. Hindi ko inexpect na mada-draft talaga ako. Parang sabi ko na lang, sana lang mabigyan ako ng opportunity,” an emotional Aying told reporters. “Wala po talaga akong hinahangad na makamit dito. Pero thank you po sa Galeries na binigyan ako ng chance at opportunity.”

READ: Thea Gagate, Leila Cruz go 1-2 in PVL Rookie Draft

The 5-foot-6 spiker had been wanting to try out for the PVL for a long time but she was discouraged by the gatekeeping of some fans to provincial players.

“Parang naging push ko na rin yung mga down comments ng mga ibang tao na ‘Ay from Cebu lang yan.’ Parang naging stepping stone siya para sa akin,” said Aying

Thanks to the league’s decision to hold a draft, Aying dared to bet on herself even though she had to rent a bed space in Mandaluyong through the help and support of her parents.

“Hindi naman ibig sabihin na porket di ako from UAAP o NCAA, hindi na pwedeng mag-apply sa draft. Wala namang requirement na kailangan ka from NCAA o UAAP,” said Aying, who was the lone non-UAAP or NCAA player drafted.

“Tinulungan lang din ako ng parents ko kasi sinuportahan ako sa pangarap ko.“

More than being drafted, Aying also felt a sense of fulfillment having proven that non-UAAP or NCAA players can make it to the big league, too.

READ: Unheralded player from Marinduque chases PVL dream

“Never give up. Kung pangarap mo, mag-try ka lang talaga, kasi wala namang mawawala kung mag-try ka,” said the incoming rookie. “As long as andiyan yung perseverance mo, andiyan yung fire sa loob mo na gusto mo talagang makamit yung pangarap mo, go lang. Wala namang limitations diyan eh.”

Hoping to showcase the talent of her province like fellow Cebuanos-turned-PVL stars Sisi Rondina and Grethcel Soltones, Aying promises to repay Galeries’ trust by giving her all every training and game.

“Promise ko lang sa team ay mabibigay ko lang talaga lahat ng makakaya ko. Alam ko naman na medyo behind ako sa mga skills, siyempre galing akong local, meaning po may mai-a-add pa po yung coaches para sa akin at mas mai-improve ko pa yung sarili ko,” Aying said. “Alam ng mga coaches na as long as may mai-improve sila sa akin, na may mai-a-add na skills at talents sa akin, makakatulong talaga ako sa team.”

But getting drafted doesn’t always guarantee a roster spot and Aying still has to earn herself a contract with teams having until next week to sign their rookies.

Galeries selected Alas Pilipinas and La Salle setter Julia Coronel at No. 3, University of the Philippines spiker Jewel Encarnacion and Dodee Batindaan in the third and fourth rounds, respectively, before picking Aying in the final round.

2024-07-09T07:31:44Z dg43tfdfdgfd