Cha Cruz and Aby Maraño find themselves in an odd and unique position. Currently playing in two prominent volleyball tournaments, the PSL and SVL, they are both teammates helping each other out, as well as enemies trying to defeat the other. On Monday, the Petron Blaze Spikers, a team which Aby is playing in, recently took Game One of the Finals as they defeated the Shopinas.com Lady Clickers, a team that Cruz participates in, in straight sets. The following day, both athletes led the Meralco Power Spikers in a straight set victory over the Coast Guard Lady Dolphins to end their elimination round games.
However, they aren’t the only ones who fall into this situation. Numerous Meralco players are included in the lineups for Petron or Shopinas. Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, Jen Reyes and Maica Morada play for Petron, while Paneng Mercado, Wensh Tiu, Arianna Angustia and April Hingpit join Cha in playing for Shopinas.
It’s not often that athletes find themselves in this position, and it may lead to uncomfortable situations for the players. Fortunately, they were able to sort things out at the start of the season.
“Walang awkwardness. Napag-usapan namin na maging professional volleyball player tayo. Wag nating dalhin kung anong team ‘yung pinaglalabanan natin,”shared Aby.“Pag Meralco, Meralco lang, walang about PSL. Pag Petron, Petron talaga kami [naka focus].”
For Cha, she uses the time spent playing alongside Aby and the other Petron players to get to learn about their skills and tendencies. She also takes this as motivation to further hone her own craft.
“Actually nakakatuwa naman, kasi we learn from each other. Pag kakampi namin sila, natututo kami kung paano sila kumilos. So pagdating na magkalaban na kami, we challenge ourselves more kasi alam namin kung paano kami naglalaro sa loob as Meralco, and paano kami maglalaban [sa PSL].”
But that is not the most important thing that Cruz has gained out of this situation. What she values the most is the friendship that she has gained with the people she is playing with.
“[‘Yung iba] ngayon ko lang din naging teammates, so more than that, it’s the friendship na nabui-build namin sa loob,” said Cha, talking about the other Petron-Meralco players.
Cha feels that she is experiencing something special, as she is playing alongside, and against, some of the best volleyball players in the Philippines.
“Na-amaze ako with the opportunity to play with them and play against them. Kasi it shows na, I’m playing with the best,” added Cha. “Kasi sa kabila nasa finals sila, tapos kami magkakasama dito [sa Meralco]. Nakakatuwa kasi hindi lang basta-basta ‘yung team na nasalihan namin, and hindi lang basta-basta ‘yung team na makakalaro namin.”
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