On a fateful Thursday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre, Arellano University head coach Obet Javier had decided to keep a fatigue-stricken Regine Arocha out of the playing field in a collision with Emilio Aguinaldo College.
While there came a point late in the match that she seemed to be preparing for action after the opposition showed resistance, Arocha ended up spending her time in the reserve box in what turned out to be a straight-set triumph for the Lady Chiefs.
At that time, she was unaware that those would be her final moments in the collegiate game.
The NCAA deemed the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a major concern just hours after that. Then following over a month of suspension and thorough deliberation, the board terminated Season 95 completely.
“It hurts more than a heartbreak!” the promising winger confessed.
Now, with a broken heart, Arocha is hanging her collegiate jersey for good. This, regardless of the NCAA’s decision to give seniors an extension in playing time.
“Doon naman po sa extra playing year na binibigay nila, ‘di na po siguro ako lalaro,” the 23-year-old spiker disclosed.
“Tama na po ‘yung six years in college. Gusto ko na pong gumraduate.”
Arocha’s last moments on the court is just a page out of a book filled with athletes who saw their collegiate careers come to an abrupt end.
And it clearly wasn’t the final year Arocha envisioned it to be. She was robbed off the chance to steer Arellano to the promised land one last time.
“Pinaghandaan po namin ‘yun ng isang taon pero ganyan ‘yung nangyari,” she said.
“As a graduating player, siyempre, goal po namin ‘yung magandang exit. I still can’t believe na ganito ‘yung nangyari.”
Still, Arocha feels a sense of gratitude that the league ensures the safety of its community.
“But alam naman po namin na ‘yung safety po namin ‘yung iniisip nila, kaya thankful din po kami sa pagiging caring nila,” she remarked.
Nonetheless, Arocha was as stellar as they come throughout her stay in Arellano.
On top of two Finals MVP plums, she is a three-time champion with the Lady Chiefs and a recipient of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps and SportsVision Volleyball Player of the Year.
As somber as the end of her collegiate stint may seem, Arocha is walking away from Arellano with a legacy to remember.