PVL: UP transferee at the forefront of AU’s offensive might
ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 23, 2018 01:20 PM
Meet the Arellano Chiefs’ top guns: (L-R) Demmy Lapuz, Christian dela Paz, Zackhaery Dablo, Kim Tan and Christian Segovia. (Photo by Stephanie Marie Baluyot)
As at it was in the last season NCAA finals between Arellano University and eventual champion University of Perpetual Help, Christian dela Paz, 20, is again leading the offensive drive of the Chiefs in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference.
The 20-year-old former UP Fighting Maroon sizzled with 24 points in Arellano’s debut in the PVL Saturday against Adamson University to underscore the leading role he is to take again on his third year with the Chiefs.
To set the record straight, the soft-spoken hotel & restaurant management student from Parang, Marikina, Rizal, said he left the UP squad because of differences with the coach, not because of the lack of playing time.
Standing five-foot-nine, dela Paz, one of superstar Marck Espejo’s teammates in Sta. Elena High School in Marikina, leaps so high he can outsmart the taller blockers on the other side of the court whether he is near or far from the net.
Stories to tell
Dela Paz takes understandable pride in Espejo’s phenomenal rise and singular achievements in the sport being products of the same town. He relishes telling and retelling how dominant a player the multi-awarded former Ateneo Blue Eagle was as early as then and where their high school team was competing.
Middle blocker Christian Segovia, 24, Demmy Lapuz, 19, and Kim Tan, 18, who help ease dela Paz’s scoring load, also have interesting stories to share.
Segovia, born and bred in Tondo and studying HRM as well, says in Filipino: “I should have been playing for FEU, not with Arellano. I was already listed on the FEU team barely a week before the UAAP opened. My mother, already frustrated with my poor grades, got wind of it and immediately pulled me out of the team.
“I was transferred to Arellano where I earned good grades that pleased my mother. I got back into volleyball and showed her I could balance sport and studies this time around. Now, my mother, grandmother and three siblings are always watching my games.”
Lapuz says he had an auspicious beginning with the Chiefs. He was already a starter on his rookie year when Arellano reached the finals against Perpetual last year.
This Tacloban City native was in third year high school when Typhoon Yolanda battered his place of birth in November 2013.
He recalls the ordeal in Filipino, “We were lucky to be living in a subdivision on a mountain slope. The roof of the house was blown away but we survived. The great destruction and the stench of death all around us was one experience everyone should not be subjected to.”
Learning and enjoying volleyball in his physical education classes in UDM had, according to Tan, weaned him away from basketball. The same school gave him his first training in volleyball; he became competent at it.
Higher tuition fees drove his family to seek other schools for him. He enrolled in NU and stayed there without playing volleyball for three years until his barkada in Arellano convinced him to try out for a spot on their varsity team.
He tried out and was taken in. Only a rookie, he started for the Chiefs in their first PVL game, making him a shoo-in for Arellano’s NCAA squad next season.
The other members of the Arellano Chiefs are Roi Domingo, setter Edmark Meneses, Adrian Villados, Tonell Arellano, Jethro Cabillan, Joshua Esguerra, Junnel Cacam, Jesrael Liberato and Evo Rinon