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Stargazer X-ceptional Player of the Year

Stargazer X-ceptional Player of the Year


Hyundai Philippines awards P100k to UAAP volleyball MVP, Bella Belen


by VJ Bacungan


Season 86 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) games came to a close earlier this month after some truly spectacular playing.

In the men’s and women’s volleyball championships, National University (NU) took home the crowns, both times taking out their long-time rivals from the University of Santo Tomas. Newly-minted UAAP sponsor Hyundai Motor Philippines made the win even sweeter for women’s volleyball MVP Bella Belen by awarding her P100,000.

Belen, an NU Psychology major and outside hitter for the NU Lady Bulldogs, was named the Stargazer X-ceptional Player of the Year. Hyundai Motor Philippines president and CEO Dong Wook Lee personally presented the award to Belen.

“Hyundai Motor Philippines congratulates National University for winning this year’s UAAP women’s volleyball championship,” said Hyundai Motor Philippines general manager for marketing Mark Parulan in a statement.

“In line with our brand’s vision of Progress for Humanity, Hyundai is committed to support the development of young Filipino athletes and its passion for sports,” he added. “We thank UAAP for making us part of this year’s tournament and we look forward to a strong partnership in the upcoming seasons.”

X marks the spot

Belen’s award is named after the Hyundai Stargazer X, which is the more rugged version of the South Korean carmaker’s popular Stargazer seven-seat, multi-purpose vehicle (MPV).

Launched last October 2023, the Stargazer X combines the brand’s eye-catching and futuristic styling with a spacious and practical cabin. Standard features like the 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto all help make this MPV an ideal family car.

In addition, the Stargazer X has an extra 200 millimeters of ground clearance to help it negotiate tougher terrain. Meanwhile, the matte-black cladding provides added protection to the vehicle’s paintwork.

All Stargazer X are powered by a 1.5-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve inline-4 gasoline engine producing 113 horsepower and 144 Newton-meters of torque. These are coursed to the front wheels through Hyundai’s Intelligent Variable Transmission, which is its own version of the regular continuously variable transmission.

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Over 25 years in sports, Hyundai Motor Philippines’ strong support for the UAAP carries on the South Korean company’s long-standing tradition of sports involvement around the world.

Since 1999, Hyundai has been an official automotive partner of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which is the global sanctioning body for soccer games. In 2022, Hyundai provided 616 official vehicles to transport member associations, VIPs and event officials during that year’s World Cup.

Half of these vehicles were electrified models like the IONIQ 5 electric vehicle, the Santa Fe Hybrid crossover, and the Elec City battery-electric bus.

Hyundai also started competing in the World Rally Championship (WRC) from 2000 to 2003. Four-time WRC champion Juha Kankkunen and British Rally Champion Alistair McRae both piloted the Hyundai Accent WRC car until the South Korean team pulled out without clinching a single title.

Nowadays, Hyundai’s WRC success is well-known with i20 N rally car, along with its participation in touring-car racing with the race-prepped Elantra N. The IONIQ 5 N eN1 Cup one-make series also launched this year as one of the world’s first battery-electric racing events.