BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — After eight games in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, Regine Arocha finally played her best game in a Choco Mucho jersey on Friday night.
The Arellano star dropped a conference-high 13 points laced with eight receptions to help the Flying Titans fend off the star-studded Petro Gazz squad in four sets, 25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 25-23, at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center.
Moreover, the win helped Choco Mucho stay in contention for the second seed in the PVL semis.
Flying Titans head tactician Oliver Almadro has been a fan of the 5-foot-7 hitter ever since her collegiate career. And he felt elated to see his prized recruit slowly blend in with the rest of his squad.
“Titan of the day, kumbaga sa amin Titan of the day.
“She proved herself na kahit na maliit siya eh, worthy siya dito sa professional league. So I really trust her and I really admire that kind of player na maliit ‘man ako, kulang ‘man ako sa height, gagawin ko ‘yung trabaho ko,” opined Almadro after the win.
For Arocha, who suffered from cramps in the final moments of the game, she was just glad to make a contribution for the loaded squad that has big-name stars such as Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino, Bea De Leon, Deanna Wong, and Denden Lazaro-Revilla.
“Kasi nung start ng fourth set, pinupulikat na ‘ko. Pero pinipilit ko kasi siyempre, gusto kong maglaro. Ayoko basta-bastang sumuko na lang. Hangga’t kaya ko gusto ko nilalaro ko pa talaga,” shared the 24-year-old Arocha.
“Siyempre masaya kasi alam kong nakatulong ako ngayon sa game namin. Kaso kinulang lang nung huli hindi na kinaya talaga.”
The two-time NCAA Finals MVP also admitted that she had a hard time immersing herself in Almadro’s system.
But through the help of the Ateneo core that took her in with open arms, Arocha finally had a full grasp of the UAAP champion coach’s schemes.
“Nung una, sobrang hirap, pero habang tumatagal naman naka-adjust na.
“Tsaka ‘yung team kasi, super nagtutulunga. Kaya ‘pag nahihirapan, andyan ‘yung iba para turuan. ‘Pag nagkakamali, tulungan. Kaya madali lang din kami naka-adjust sa system ni Coach O,” said Arocha, who herself is a three-time collegiate champion in the NCAA.
According to Almadro, he has been eyeing Arocha ever since he took the Choco Mucho coaching gig.
The Flying Titans were supposed to sign Arocha up in the previous year but got beat by Sta. Lucia. Luckily for Almadro, though, the Lady Realtors released Arocha prior to the season. That gave him an opening to snatch his coveted recruit.
“Noon pa lang, alam niya ‘yan noon pa lang. Pa-graduate pa lang siya non sa Arellano, kinukuha ko na siya kaya lang nauna siya sa Sta. Lucia, tapos nung natapos sa Sta. Lucia saka lang siya napunta dito,” revealed Almadro.
“Pero dapat nung unang Choco Mucho pa lang nandito na ‘yan eh.”