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Pau Soriano volleyball ace soars higher

Killer spikes and killer looks.  That’s  a combination  which is hard to beat in volleyball. But Maria Paulina ‘Pau’ Soriano,  one of the elite players  to have played in the  University of Athletic Association of the Philippines volleyball tournament  and  the Shakey’s V-League,  has plenty of  both. A starter  since her freshman year for the Adamson University Lady Falcons until  her final playing  year last season, the 21-year old  Hospitality Management  graduate never fails to attract  attention  with her superb  plays whenever  she’s  inside the volleyball  court,  or out of it. Known for her booming spikes and well-timed blocks,  Pau  has built a reputation  as a skillful  player  with charming looks  to boot.  At 5-foot-7,  Pau is actually small by today’s  standards among volleyball players,  but compensates for it with her high leap and her ability to  change  her body’s  direction in mid-air. In basketball,  they call it ‘hangtime.’  But in volleyball, they named it after  Pau, the ‘Queen  of Diagonal Hit.” The moniker came from volleyball commentators,   who were obviously overwhelmed by  Pau’s  ability  to twist in the air, while delivering  those killer slams. “Yun pong mga commentators and nagbansag ng ganun sa akin, kasi raw po nababago ko ‘yung direction ko kahit na nasa taas na ako,”  Pau said.
Former Adamson Lady Falcon ace Pau Soriano in action: pretty but deadly inside the volleyball court.
Her  skills  had earned for her quite a number of accolades,  such as a Most Valuable Player  plum and Best Blocker award during the 2000 Palarong Pambansa in Palawan,  Best Attacker in the 72nd UAAP season ,  and as a two-time Best Blocker in the Shakey’s  V-League. Pau  learned  the basics of the game at a very young age during her elementary days  at Tandang Sora Elementary School in Banlat, Quezon City,  from trainer Gideon Saludares  and her first coach,  Judith Caluya. From there,  Pau brought her talent  to Ernesto Rodon High School.  While  still a third-year high school student in 2007   Pau was noticed by a scout who eventually brought  her to Adamson U after  she finished high school. At the Falcons’ lair,   Pau blossomed into a complete player, having played almost all positions  in the court,  as a utility,  open spiker and eventually,   as a center spiker. Today,  Pau is one of the most recognizable  players in the volleyball circuit,   even after graduating  from Adamson U. Her superb plays earned her tons of admirers,  which she says boosts her confidence  whenever she plays. “Siyempre po nakakatuwa din ‘yung may maririnig mo na may nagche-cheer sa iyo, kasi mas ginaganahan kang maglaro.  Meron ding mga detractors,  pero okey lang iyon kasi part na yun ng competition,” she says. Pau may  have  reached elite  status in competitive volleyball,  but  she says that  she still asks  herself  after every game how she could still improve her game. In fact,  Pau is the type of player who does not look at how well she performed after the game,  but how many errors  she had committed. “Hindi po ako tumitingin sa points.  ‘Yung mga errors ang tinitingnan ko,  kasi  iniisip ko kailangan hindi ko na uli magawa yun sa next game namin,”  Pau says. As a volleyball player,  Pau  and  the rest of her teammates in the Adamson team in the V-League spend most of the day perfecting their skills.  They train five days  a week and three hours a day.   Training includes road runs,  lifting weights,  conditioning,  drills  and tune-up  games  under the watchful eyes of  head coach Sherwin Meneses. Now that she  had finished her five-years stint with the Lady Falcons in the UAAP,  Pau looks forward to playing more volleyball in the Shakey’s V-League  as a guest player,  or eventually as a coach, before she set her sights  in fulfilling her other goal in life. “Ang talagang dream ko pa talaga ay maging isang flight stewardess,  pero kung mabibigyan po ako ng opportunity na makapaglaro pa o kaya mag-coach, why not?,” she says. But  for now,  Pau says she’s enjoying  her stint  as a volleyball player,  as she savors  the bond and camaraderie among her teammates in the V-League. “Masaya  po kami kahit talagang nakakapagod din kung minsan.  Maganda po ang samahan namin, pati na with coach Sherwin.  Ito kasi talaga ang gusto ko mula pa noong bata pa ako,” says Pau. With  a competitive spirit honed by years of playing volleyball, Pau would definitely soar in another career,  but  for her legion  of fans,  Maria Paulina ‘Pau’ Soriano would  remain one of the undisputable ‘queens’  of the  game.
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