TUGUEGARAO had one of the more inspiring stories in the BVR on Tour in Sta. Ana, Cagayan as the pair of AJ Pareja and James Pecaña bounced back 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.
Bannering Tuguegarao is something the 6-foot-4 Pareja has relished in the two weeks that he and Pecaña competed in the bubble.
“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.
The road past the pool stage was not lined with roses as the duo hurdled three three-setter matches to advance to the knockout rounds.
“Those 3-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,” said Pareja, who is also a doctor.
Tuguegarao has learned a lot of lessons from its first leg experience, which included a tough loss to Negros Occidental Beach Volleyball Club.
Pareja and Pecaña were able to avenge their first leg defeat to Eljhay Ronquillo and Deanne Neil de Pedro in the second leg which was 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 were 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 only get better in future domestic and international competitions.
The Tuguegarao bets will be one of the Philippines’ representatives to the Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships on Nov 23-27 in Phuket, Thailand.