BACARRA, Ilocos Norte — Fit-again Arriane Layug has been a revelation for Chery Tiggo after winning its first two games in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.
The past three years was tough for the 24-year-old outside hitter after suffering a right ACL injury in the 2018 Philippine Superliga All Filipino Conference during the first set of Foton’s match against Smart.
When Layug started recovering, her comeback from a season-ending knee injury had to wait after Covid-19 pandemic wiped out all volleyball tournaments in the country for more than a year.
“At first, mahirap kasi nung nagrerehab ako yung motivation ko is to play and then pandemic comes ayan nanaman magaadapt ka nanaman sa sistema like magtetraining sa zoom,” the 5-foot-8 spiker said. “Pero yung struggle na yun, siya din yung naging motivation to play now.”
Worth the wait
But the long wait from injury and pandemic made the former La Salle Lady Spiker stronger mentally and physically.
“Tapang lang talaga and lakas ng loob,” she added.
Layug posted the same stat-line with Chery Tiggo’s top player Jaja Santiago, scoring 15 off 11 attacks, three aces, and a block to torch Cignal in three sets on Monday at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center.
The Crossovers gained the early 2-0 lead in their PVL debut, including their opening day sweep on PLDT where Layug was also instrumental with nine markers.
Layug said having great players around her, like Philippine women’s volleyball team players Jaja, Dindin, Mylene and Jasmine Nabor, inspired her to work harder and play better.
“It’s an honor to play with them knowing Jaja and Ate Din and Jasmine na nagrepresent na din ng Philippines so it’s an honor na mging teammates ko din sila and matutunan ko din yung mga dapat ko pang matutunan sa kanila,” she said.
Chery Tiggo head coach Aaron Velez is happy to see Layug back in action after going through a lot. But he continues to challenge his returning player as the best is yet to come.
“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,” Velez said.
Layug has the same mindset as she knows that all eyes will be on her team after a strong start in this short PVL bubble conference.
“Ang masasabi ko lang siguro isa din kami sa babantayan, isa din kami sa titignan ng bawat team. Kailangan ng improvement pa rin, hindi pwedeng ma-satisfy,” she said.
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