Her parents were her No.1 supporters but when they started to work abroad, Malvinne Ann Venice Alcala was left alone to pursue a collegiate badminton career.
“I’m so used to them being around all the time even in my competitions so it was a really big adjustment for me especially during the UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) season because it was a continuous tournament,” Alcala said.
Whenever she felt that she let the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons down, she did not have her parents nearby to uplift her spirit. Although her teammates, managers, and coaches are always around, she said there was no substitute to her parents’ comforting words.
The 20-year-old co-captain received the Most Valuable Player award during the recently concluded UAAP badminton tseason, which is her first playing year. It was also this year that the UP Lady Maroons clinched their third consecutive badminton title.
Alcala said that winning the deciding Game 2 match of the finals to tie the series at 1-1 was one of the most unforgettable moments of her young badminton career.
She beat Patrisha Edricka Malibiran of Ateneo de Manila University in straight sets, 21-10, 21-14, on October 12.
Alcala said that she is always competing against herself and eradicating self-doubt is a constant struggle.
“I always doubt myself that I can do it,” the junior of BS Physical Education student said.
Alcala was already in the UP’s line up last season but was barred from playing after Ateneo and Far Eastern University protested against her involvement in a professional league.
“I played in a professional league which is not allowed when under residency,” Alcala explained.
“I don’t think it did a lot to me but I became more patient and understanding,” Alcala said on how the experience affected her.
Since she studied for one semester at the National University in 2013, the 5’9-tall shuttler is completing her residency requirements at the Diliman campus since 2014.
Alcala has already tested her mettle in the international arena after winning back-to-back singles championships in the Singapore Youth International U17 girls and Australian Junior International U19 girls tournaments. She also won a silver medal in the German Junior U19 girls singles competition. Alcala also received a Siddayao award twice and an outstanding badminton player plum from the Philippine Sportswriters Association.
Alcala started in the sport when she was only eight years old. It was her father Malvin that first taught her how to hold a racket and a shuttle cock.
Alcala also finds joy in teaching badminton to children. She sees herself 10 years from now as a pre-school teacher, living in the United States with her family.
“The best way to influence them is, I think, by being a role model and a teacher to them,” she said.
But for now, she enjoys competing in her chosen sport treasuring the lessons she accumulates in her life journey.
“Being a badminton player is not only about training, it also requires discipline and effort to win. So I guess it really taught me that before I achieve my goals, I really have to work hard for it first. It’s not just in badminton, it also applies to different aspects of life.”