When he joined Cignal in 2018, Anjo Pertierra found himself at the tail end of the HD Spikers’ middle blocker rotation.
He found it hard to crack a rotation that already has big-name stars such as Peter Torres and Rex Intal, to go along with battle-tested players like Josh Villanueva and Alexis Faytaren.
Entering the 2019 Reinforced Conference and with Villanueva and Faytaren out of the line-up, Pertierra was poised to gain the minutes that they vacated. But with the arrival of the highly-touted JP Bugaoan in the fold, Pertierra’s playing time remained limited.
Afraid that Pertierra might lose his confidence in the process, Torres, who took the then neophyte under his wing, always made him remember that his time will come.
“Lagi ko lang sinasabi sa kanya na ‘wag ka lang mainip, na darating din yung time mo, gagamitin ka din,” said Torres.
“Ngayon siguro yun yung time niya.”
And the opportunity finally came knocking on Pertierra’s door.
With FEU deciding to join the second conference, Bugaoan was forced to leave Cignal to suit up for his school. And just when they thought that things couldn’t get worse, Torres was diagnosed with spontaneous pneumothorax which ruled him out for the rest of the year.
Luckily for Cignal, though, Pertierra has always been ready to step up for the HD Spikers.
The 6-foot-3 product of Mapua was one of the consistent forces in Cignal’s unbeaten run in the Open Conference. And he has the Second Best Middle Blocker trophy to back it up.
With his breakout performance, no one couldn’t be more proud than his good friend and mentor in Torres.
“Siyempre, everything happens for a reason and nung nawala ako, happy kami na nag step-up talaga siya. Ginawa niya yung best niya, binigay niya yung best niya and deserve niya talaga yung award niya,” said Torres, who was on the sidelines when Pertierra received his first-ever individual award in the league.
“Proud ako sa kanya, kasi ilang taon ko na rin nakasama si Anjo [Pertierra] and siyempre nakikita ko kung paano siya mag training, kung paano siya mag sikap.”
For the 23-year-old, he’s just glad to have someone like Torres, who became a good role model who guided him all early in his career.
“Thankful din ako kay kuya Peter kasi ginuguide niya pa rin ako kahit nasa labas na siya ng court, kahit wala na siyang training halos ginuguide niya pa rin ako saka pinupush niya ako,” shared Pertierra, who averaged 6.8 points for Cignal in the playoffs.
“Close kami, magkasama kami sa bahay dati ni Pedro. Sabi niya nga sa akin kanina, parang ‘it’s your time to shine’ ganun. Alam ko, na if siya yung nasa place ko makukuha rin niya yung award.”