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HomeSportTiny but mighty Detdet Pepito captures hearts of UST fans

Tiny but mighty Detdet Pepito captures hearts of UST fans


UST FinaLS UST TIGRESSES Detdet Pepito

UST fans poses with their Detdet Pepito tarpaulin in Game 1 of the UAAP women’s volleyball Finals. –MELO FUERTES/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament wasn’t Detdet Pepito’s breakout game, by any means.

It was her coronation.

Not really as a UAAP champion. No, that situation is quite far from her grasp as the Golden Tigresses succumbed to National University in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.

It was her coronation of being the Thomasian’s champion.

UAAP SCHEDULE: Season 86 volleyball Finals UST vs NU

When Pepito was deep in focus, stretching and meditating before the war, she shut off all the noise from the public. That, of course, was a hard task considering that the inside of the Araneta Coliseum was already rocking even before the match started.

Little did she know that literally a few feet away from her, banners of support were put up in the tunnel for her to see when she goes out to the taraflex for the UAAP Finals action.

“It was better that we had no expectations,” said Nina, a member of the Thomasian community who provided UST fans with yellow clappers.

“They talked about our height. The [players] are small plus they’re a rebuilding team. It was better that we didn’t expect, so now we can see the reward that they’re here in the Finals. Whatever happens, win or lose, we’re here to support.”

READ: UAAP: Pepito says now is UST’s best chance to win title

But other than their signature “Go USTe!” cheers and yellow noise makers, Nina and her fellow fans also had a special tarpaulin, tailor-made for the Golden Tigresses’ libero.

The three-piece tarpaulin had Pepito’s playful facial expressions with lyrics of Willie Revillame’s “Boom Tarat Tarat” hit written in them, as well.

“Boom Tarat Tarat” is a song that became famous in 2006 because of its festive lyrics that encapsulated Christmas kids’ caroling for the Yuletide season.

Face of consistency

UST Tigresses' Detdet Pepito during Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball tournmaent Finals against NU Lady Bulldogs

UST Tigresses’ Detdet Pepito during Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournmaent Finals against NU Lady Bulldogs. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

For some odd reason, it’s also Pepito’s pre-game music. In a video that went viral before Season 86 even started, Pepito was asked about which song she listens to before a game.

And… weirdly enough, her answer was Revillame’s Christmas classic.

This added more layers to her bubbly personality which people already came to love.

READ: History repeats itself even in bad way for Tigresses

Despite being cheerful, though, Pepito meant business inside the court. You never really know what you’re getting with Pepito. All you ever know is she’ll give her all-out effort–which fans have come to love.

“Detdet has always been consistent. We’ve seen it. We even call her our ‘puto festival,’” said Nina, referring to “puto” as Pepito’s receptions.

As the clock neared game time, the Golden Tigresses made their way out from the dugout to the court with Pepito leading the way.

Her first view? A tarpaulin that plastered on the stairway beside the tunnel.

So before putting on her game face, she chuckled a bit and merrily ran to the teraflex to warm up in front of an increasing Big Dome crowd which soon resulted in 20,995 spectators.

READ: UAAP: Young, undersized UST Tigresses ready for fight of their lives

“‘Di ko alam mafefeel ko. Nilalaro niyo ba ‘ko?! Charot,” said a laughing Pepito despite losing the first game of the best-of-three series.

(I don’t know what to feel. Are you guys playing with me?! Just kidding.)

“But really, it’s nice to see because I’m a player… and also a comedian. So if they enjoy it, just go! But really, I’m thankful because they’re still there.”

Appreciation for liberos

Detdet Pepito UST Tigresses UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball

UST Tigresses’ Detdet Pepito .–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Her personality may be one of the reasons why even some of the 20,000-something fans were cheering her on when her face flashed on Araneta Coliseum’s big screen.

Her reactions to all those were those of gratitude, especially since players like her, who play the libero position, aren’t the stars in a sport where the usual focus is on the high-leaping, hard-hitting spikers.

“I’m happy as a libero. Most of us aren’t that appreciated because of the job we do, most of it [attention] is more on spikers. I’m thankful because they’re starting to appreciate how much we want to contribute to the team even if that’s all we do.”

Now, with a virtual twice-to-win disadvantage, Pepito’s still smiling and optimistic.



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Maybe that’s the reason why even if UST fails to win the chip this year, Pepito can still call herself a champion; the Thomasian’s champion.





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