BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — Three years after tearing her left ACL, Arriane Layug is finally playing her best volleyball for the Chery Tiggo Crossovers in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference here at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center.
The two-time UAAP champion put up a team-best 15 points built on 11 attacks, three aces, and a block in Chery Tiggo’s three-set decimation of Cignal, 25-16, 25-13, 25-19, on Saturday.
Before this, Layug chipped in nine points in the Crossovers’ debut victory over the PLDT Power Hitters on Saturday.
But despite her fine play, the opposite hitter from La Salle is far from satisfied with her showing.
“To be honest, hindi pa ako gaanong satisfied sa performance ko kasi every game naman kailangan meron pa ring i-improve. ‘Yun lang din training and improve every game,” said the 24-year-old Layug after Chery Tiggo moved to a 2-0 standing.
It was a long journey for Layug, who suffered her injury during Foton’s Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference match against Smart back in 2018. When she returned to action in 2020, the entire season was then scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But instead of feeling disheartened with the setback, Layug used the long break as a motivation to prepare both physically and mentally.
“At first, mahirap kasi nung nagre-rehab ako.
“‘Yung motivation ko is to play and then pandemic comes. Ayan na naman, mag-aadapt ka na naman sa sistema like magte-traing sa Zoom. Pero ‘yung struggle na ‘yun, siya din ‘yung naging motivation to play now,” said the 5-foot-9 opposite hitter.
“Honestly, yes. Kasi siyempre, ‘yung rehab ko naman hindi lang physically, pero mentally kailangan mo rin i-prepare. Tapang lang talaga and lakas ng loob,” she added.
Chery Tiggo head coach Aaron Velez is more than happy now that one of her top hitters is finally back in full shape.
“I’m happy for Arriane Layug. I just want her also to still gain confidence. I like the fact that she’s very mindful on how she lands, but still I want her to jell with her teammates,” expressed Velez.
Now at the top of the standings with a 2-0 win-loss slate, Layug sent out a warning for the rest of the playing field.
“Ang masasabi ko lang siguro isa din kami sa babantayan, isa din kami sa titignan ng bawat team. Pero as I told nga, kailangan ng improvement pa rin. Hindi pwedeng ma-satisfy,” she declared.
“Kailangan every game improve pa rin.”