Aj Pareja and James Pecaña led the way for Tuguegarao to stage a Cinderella run in the BVR on Tour bubble in Santa Ana, Cagayan.
After failing to make it past the pool stage in the first leg, the pair bounced back big in the recently-concluded second leg by finishing second to Creamline 1’s Jude Garcia and Krung Arbasto in the highly-competitive men’s division.
“We couldn’t be more thankful for the trust that Tuguegarao gave us to represent. Me and Henry have been working since April of this year when we decided to pair up and it has been such an honor representing and bringing a medal for Tuguegarao!” said Pareja.
But the pair had an uphill climb as Pareja and Pecaña hurdled three three-setter matches to advance to the knockout rounds.
“Those three-setter matches really made us look into our own strengths and weaknesses as a pair, as well as ,reassess our mindset for each game. It made us realize more how to pace ourselves when to go all out or when to slow down which is still very much a work in progress for us,” added Pareja, who is also a doctor.
Tuguegarao carried plenty of lessons from the first leg, including a tough loss to Negros Occidental Beach Volleyball Club.
Pareja and Pecaña then avenged their first leg defeat to Eljhay Ronquillo and Deanne Neil de Pedro in the second leg which served as the turning point of Tuguegarao’s campaign.
“The first leg finish was more mental than physical in a way that we were so pressured to play a perfect game because we both wanted to prove something to the local beach volleyball scene. We let the pressure get the best of us to the point that we are both nitpicking each one’s errors making us work against each other instead of working together,” said Pareja.
“The second leg we let go of that pressure to play perfectly and we (me and Henry) became more open to each other’s shortcomings in game,” the former UAAP MVP added.
With Tuguegarao’s runner-up finish, Pareja is confident that his partnership with Pecaña will flourish in the future domestic and international competitions.
The Tuguegarao bets will be one of the Philippines’ representatives to the Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships on November 23 to 27 in Phuket, Thailand.
“We are very confident that with the program we are currently following, our world tour dreams is an attainable reality. This is just the beginning for the both of us and the rest of my Indios Beach Volleyball Crew!” Pareja said, referring to their club where Pecaña is currently part with. – Rappler.com