IN the absence of Premier Volleyball League (PVL) best outside spiker Alyssa Valdez, Tots Carlos is stepping up and embracing the challenge of becoming the Creamline-bannered national team's go-to open spiker.
Despite being known as an opposite spiker, the two-time PVL MVP was converted into an open spiker at the last minute after Valdez was pulled out days before the Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup for Women opener due to dengue.
Carlos, as versatile as she is, continues to deliver for the Philippines whichever side of the court she is on.
In their three-set loss to defending champion China on Tuesday night, Carlos led the Philippines' fightback and tallied a team-high 15 points off 13 attacks and two aces.
"I’m really happy na I can contribute to the team and makatulong since wala si Ate Ly. They gave me a position na kailangan ko iadjust," she said.
In her first official national team stint, Carlos is averaging 12 points over two games. And the transition has been made easier by the support of both coaches and teammates.
"I've been training opposite for the past two years. Actually, for the rest of buong career ko [sa] volleyball. But if you have the support system that you have na aalalayan ka, even Jema [Galanza] sobra, si ate Jia [De Guzman] 'yung setters namin and everyone in the team na no pressure at all," she said.
Despite a 0-2 start to Pool A play, the hosts still have a chance at making the quarterfinals with one victory in their last two remaining games.
The Philippines will take on Iran on Wednesday night before ending the preliminaries against South Korea on Thursday at the PhilSports Arena.
But for Carlos, what matters is the learning experience the team could get as they face taller, faster and more experienced national teams in Asia.
"Super happy kasi I’ve been really wanting to play against the best players in the world. It’s still about the learning experience yung habol ko rito. I’m happy na I’m with my home team and we gave our best sa game na to," she said.