Photos by @givemesam IG, @tonetjadaone TWR

Alyssa Valdez Joins Tots Carlos And Ara Galang In Volleyball Love Story Movie, ‘Rookie’

What a serve.

From the courts to the big screen, volleyball stars Alyssa Valdez, Tots Carlos, and Ara Galang team up for a Cinemalaya film from Samantha Lee.

Related: Here’s Proof That Alyssa Valdez Was The Real Mvp Inside The PBB House

You might know them from serving aces, fiery spikes, game-ending blocks, or excellent digs in the world of volleyball. But this year, star athletes Ara Galang and Tots Carlos will be welcoming their acting era in the sports romance Rookie helmed by filmmaker Samantha Lee. And to make it even more exciting for volleyball fans, the phenom herself, Alyssa Valdez, is also set to appear in the movie. We know you have so many questions in your head right now, so here’s what we know so far about this much-awaited offering.


Earlier this month, the world of Pinoy Twitter was rocked when Antoinette Jadaone posted a photo of Tots Carlos and Ara Galang in what’s apparently a film set. Much to the surprise of avid volleyball fans, it was later revealed by Jadaone that the two ace players will make a cameo in Rookie, an independent film directed by Baka Bukas and Billie & Emma creator Samantha Lee. Just days ago, this was followed by an announcement that Alyssa Valdez was also joining the same production. 

Ara Galang and Tots Carlos on the set of Rookie (Photo from Project 8 Projects)
Ara Galang and Tots Carlos on the set of Rookie Photo from Project 8 Projects

Co-written by Natts Jadaone (Lucid) and Lee, Rookie follows the story of an awkward 6-footer teen, who is forced to learn and play volleyball half-heartedly as the Catholic school she transferred to does not have a basketball team. Her whole life changes when she meets the school’s star volleyball player. A sapphic love story layered with sporty themes, this is another classic Samantha Lee creation that should be on your radar.

“When I first started doing research for Rookie, watching Alyssa Valdez’s videos was my gateway to the wonderful world of volleyball,” shares Lee in an IG post. “So grateful for this full circle moment today.” Meanwhile, writer Natts Jadaone further reveals that even in the first draft of the Rookie screenplay, a scene featuring Valdez was already written. “Because what is a volleyball film without THE face of PH volleyball?” Jadaone gushes as she expresses her gratitude to the phenom.

While most details about Rookie are still under wraps, including Carlos, Galang, and Valdez’s cameo roles and the lead stars, it’s confirmed that the movie will premiere at the 2023 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. Based on a reel posted by direk Lee, Rookie has already wrapped production, which started late March. Project 8 Projects, the production studio behind the film, released more BTS photos, which revealed that veteran actress Agot Isidro will be part of the movie as well alongside “up-and-coming volleyball superstar” Jelai Gajero.

Creamline Cool Smashers teammates Tots Carlos and Alyssa Valdez just finished their triumphant run at the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference, where the former was also hailed as the conference MVP and best outside spiker. Meanwhile, former De La Salle University Lady Spikers team captain Ara Galang took home the bronze medal in the same conference for F2 Logistics Cargo Movers. Valdez will next head the national team (Carlos included) for the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia this May. Rookie will screen in Cinemalaya this coming August.

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