DEFEDING three-time champion Arellano University is bracing for life in the NCAA volleyball Season 96 wars without star outside spiker Regine Arocha.
No less than Lady Chiefs coach Obet Javier bared the former two-time finals MVP is unlikely to return to the squad even if the NCAA decides to give athletes who did not finish or play in Season 95 an extra playing year.
“Hindi na siguro. Tama na siguro iyong six years na naglaro siya (Arocha) for Arellano. Madami namang potential na players ang team,” Javier told Malaya Business Insight yesterday.
“Decision naman na din ni Regine, so dapat respetuhin namin iyon,” he added.
The 95th NCAA women’s volleyball tournament was called off for good last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Giving athletes another year of eligibility is just fine for Javier, but he is ready to let go of the 5-foot-7 Arocha and middle blocker Mikaela Juanich, who have both already played their fifth year for Arellano.
What makes Javier giddy about his belles’ chances next season is the fact the Lady Chiefs will boast of an otherwise intact line-up expected to be led by reigning MVP Necole Ebuen and outside hitter Princess Bello.
“Para sa akin ay okay naman iyong idea na iyon para doon sa mga gusto pang laruin iyong natirang year nila pero sa team namin siguro okay na kami sa mga natapos na noong Season 95 para naman mabigyan iyong ibang players ng chance na maipakita ang talent nila,” said Javier.
“Nandiyan pa naman si Ebuen and Bello. As long as naglalaro ang team ko na buo ay hindi namin kailangang umasa sa iisang player lang. Ganyan naman ang team namin ever since.”
Javier also has no regrets after the Legarda-based spikers’ bid to annex their fifth crown in the last six years was foiled by the coronavirus crisis.
“After the cancellation of NCAA season ay nag-stop na kami mag-practice. All my players ay nasa families na nila. Nakakapanghinayang dahil hindi na natuloy iyong Season 95,” explained Javier.
“One-year ang preparation namin pero ganoon talaga. Hindi man natin gustuhin iyong nangyari pero kailangan nating tanggapin kasi ang kaligtasan at kalusugan din ng athletes ang nakataya.”
With the league eyeing to start Season 96 in May or June next year, the Lady Chiefs will be ready.
“Big challenge ito para sa team namin pero dahil sa support at tiwala ng administration ay magagawa namin ulit mag-produce ng quality and caliber players,” said Javier.
“Basta ang hahanapin ko ay iyong mas magaling sa mga nawala.”