IF players would have it their way, they would trade anything to go back to a normal game day.
Imagine playing, once again, a fully-lit arena filled with cheers from fans. For any athlete, that's always been home, but when the only choice during the pandemic, is to do closed-door games, they'll take it, too.
After all, as Kat Tolentino shares, there are several upsides to a bubble.
"The best part of the bubble is we got to know players outside of the court," the Choco Mucho hitter said in a virtual presscon held on Monday. "Being on the court, I have this impression on players, some I'm not that comfortable with, and being on a bubble with them, we see these players from a different perspective."
A month ago, Tolentino capped off the pro volleyball league's inaugural season (and first bubble season) with the Best Opposite Spiker nod in the 2021 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference where her team finished fourth.
Kat Tolentino describes the volleyball bubble
As you can expect, the whole bubble setup was more or less a full month of seeing only the same faces everywhere they go.
"We got to hang out with the other teams left, like Petro Gazz. We got to know and bond with them and it's a nice experience. [We were] super thankful we were able to meet more people," she continued.
No audience, of course, was allowed in the close circuit setup held in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. And they spent most of their downtime inside their rooms.
Tolentino shared her room with teammate Regine Arocha. Making online content on social media platform TikTok kep them busy outside of the games. .
"[I] got hooked being on Tiktok," she confessed. "I found out more how to use it. Since, being in a bubble, we can't do much, so it is really one of the ways we cope with the situation."
Their team is one of the nominees in the tongue-in-cheek 'Tiktokerist of the Conference' plum, under the Moments award category of the PVL special awards.
Tolentino bares that taking the fun to Tiktok is also a way to entertain their fans who continued to support them, even if they were unable to watch games live.
"We were shocked that there were still many viewers. It's a testament of how big the volleyball community is. We're in the middle of the pandemic and people still want to watch volleyball, just goes to show how important the sport is to them," she said.
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