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Barbie San Andres: Soaring Above the Net



Article by: Alyanna Ysabelle A. Faustino and Michaella Louise A. Llopis

Graphics by: Ma. Alyssa Therese S. Manalang and Maurine Claire F. Kim

April 8, 2024

One of many tales that enlivened the Mapúa Men’s Volleyball Team’s (MU MVT) triumphant campaign during the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 98 is the sterling performance of Outside Hitter Beben “Barbie” San Andres.


Behind her powerful spikes is a persevering student-athlete with big dreams and a love for her craft. In preparation for this year’s return to the taraflex, The New Builder shines the spotlight on MU MVT’s rising star.

 

Digging Deep

In a consistent display of power and versatility, Barbie proves to be a tour de force that leaves many in awe. From her humble beginnings in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Barbie’s love for volleyball became known at the tender age of 14, thanks to her friends. With all their prodding, her friends succeeded in convincing her to play, finally deciding to pitch in during their high school Intramurals. That was the moment that solidified her passion for sports and paved the way for her volleyball sojourn. “I realized that I can do the sport because I am happy playing inside the court knowing my friends are there to guide me,” she recalled.


True enough, the driving forces behind Barbie’s dedication and love for the sport are credited to her family and everyone who believed in her. The high-flying Mapúan also acknowledged Far Eastern University legend Rachel Anne Daquis as an idol and inspiration. Witnessing Daquis play in her prime vastly influenced how Barbie plays her games and leads by example. Looking up to these key figures in her early volleyball career has truly shaped Barbie into the remarkable player she is now.


Spiking for success

Taking her talents to the historic walls of Intramuros, the Physical Education major made waves and surely did not disappoint during her spectacular NCAA performances. Firing on all cylinders, she secured four Best Player of the Game plums throughout the five games won by the MU MVT last season. Among these intense matchups, their match against the Emilio Aguinaldo College MVT proved to be the most memorable for Barbie. In a cardiac five-setter, the Mapúan Outside Hitter led the red –and gold squad to victory, scoring a season-high 34 points built on 30 attacks, one block, and three aces. With her consistent show of offense and defense, Barbie also earned the distinction of being the first player to score a hundred points.

At the culmination of her outstanding season for the Intramuros-based squad, Barbie was awarded as NCAA Season 98’s 1st Best Outside Hitter. She had previously attributed this distinction to her ‘unexpected’ 2nd Best Outside Hitter award in her Spikers’ Turf stint with VNS, which she considered to be the best achievement in her volleyball career. With her distinct presence inside the court, Barbie’s recent feat in the NCAA further inspires her to keep working hard. “...I am more motivated to get back in training and learn more about the sports and inspire my teammates and those people who believed in me,” she remarked.


Serving between classroom and court 

In a four-term-a-year university such as Mapúa, a student-athlete like Barbie embarks on a battle of time management-balancing academics, sport, and personal connections, “being a Mapúan is very hard because you need to balance your time.” Aside from time management, pressure is also one of Barbie’s hindrances, particularly the emotional weight from inside the court, including the preparation and perseverance to win the competition. As per academic pursuits, Barbie makes adjustments and manages her time for her scholarship as she dedicates it to helping her family. Nevertheless, Barbie proved that pursuing her career and joining numerous volleyball leagues will not stop her from fulfilling her academic endeavors.


Barbie has undoubtedly achieved great success as a collegiate athlete and her journey is filled with valuable life lessons. Being a Mapúan student-athlete brought Barbie a new perspective on overcoming trials inside and outside the court. “…but once you learn how to do it [time management], you will be able to surpass anything, and the lesson I learned is to put your priorities first before anybody else.” Barbie shared. Barbie faced numerous obstacles in both battles of life and volleyball, but she used those experiences to bounce back and strive harder to take a step closer in her dream path.


Barbie made a lasting impression as an exceptional athlete during NCAA Season 98, and her supporters are eagerly awaiting the further development of her skills in the league coming this Season 99. As Barbie continues her journey in the NCAA league, she looks forward to improving their rankings from being the 5th seed last season as she shared that they would do whatever it takes to win and bring home the trophy.


Dedication and love for volleyball drive Barbie San Andres to be one of Mapúa’s pride. From being a shy and self-doubting kid to becoming the reigning 1st Best Outside Hitter, Barbie proved to be unstoppable, showcasing her growth and how far she has gone.


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