Less but more.
Last Tuesday, not only did Petron Blaze Spikers handed Foton Tornadoes their third straight loss, they also kicked them out of title contention in the 2018 Philippine Superliga Invitationals Cup.
The match went down the wire, but after four sets of intense volleyball action, Petron emerged triumphant.
One key factor in that victory is Petron’s middle blocker Mika Reyes.
The 5-foot-11 middle spiker was steady at the defensive and offensive side of the net throughout the match. She remained undaunted by the presence of Foton’s tall hitters in Dindin Manabat and Jaja Santiago to give Petron its debut win.
Reyes outplayed Foton’s middle blockers as she finished the game with nine kills, three blocks and an ace for a 13-point outing.
It was, for Reyes, another day in the office, being a reliable net defender that she always has been.
Amid her good performance though, there was something that seemed to be missing. Something that volleyball aficionados have been used to seeing from the spiker. Something that seemed to be synonymous to her name.
Noticeably, in that game, her swag is missing.
— van (@Payeyeboys) July 3, 2018
In fact, her swag hasn’t been seen for a long time now.
During her collegiate stint with the De La Salle Lady Spikers, Reyes was one of the fiercest volleyball player in the UAAP along with UST’s Riri Meneses and Adamson’s Erika Alkuino to name a few.
Piercing stare down, taunting smile, fingers pointing — name it. The three-time UAAP champion was, as many called her, the “Swag Princess” of the green-and-white squad.
Her court antics, though, have drawn mixed reactions from the volleyball community.
La Salle faithfuls, of course, lauded her for continuing the Taft-based squad’s trademark style of play. On the contrary, there are also those who don’t think her antics were necessary.
Reyes was both adored and burned at stakes for it.
Years later, after she has served her playing years with the Ramil de Jesus squad, her swag seemed to die down, to fade, to disappear.
Throughout her ongoing post-collegiate career, wherein she suited up for F2 Logistics Cargo Movers and the Philippine national women’s volleyball team, Reyes, who signed a two-year contract with Petron last year, is now playing subtler volleyball.
She no longer stares down too long whenever she blocks a bullet of an attack. She no longer runs around the taraflex floor with a smirk. She no longer throws intimidating smile at her foes.
It was as if her swag was a costume she just unzipped and stripped.
Outside the court, sans her jersey and shoes, the 24-year old spiker is soft-spoken, smiles warmly and quite shy. By the way she currently plays, it seems like her cocky, feisty days are over.
Reyes may not be a swagger anymore, but it doesn’t make her less lethal may it be in finding open spaces or rejecting strong hits from her opponents. In fact, it made her a more frightening force to reckon with.
Reyes remains to be the reliable middle hitter that she always has been. She is still good at what she does, with or without swag.
(Photo courtesy of Philippine Superliga)