Arianne Layug takes it slowly in regaining form

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 20) – Despite a productive offensive showing in her first two 2021 PVL Open Conference games, Chery Tiggo opposite hitter Arianne Layug is taking it slowly to unleash her form.

"To be honest, I am not that satisfied with my performance because I need to improve on many things in every game. I'll just continue to work hard in my training and improve every game," Layug told a post-game press conference.

Coming off an ACL injury in 2018 and a prolonged layoff due to the COVID-19 crisis, the De La Salle standout has been playing big for the Crossovers, who now lead the league with a 2-0 slate.

Layug scored nine points in their opening day sweep against PLDT on July 17. She and Jaja Santiago then teamed up with 15 points apiece in another three-set win against Cignal on Monday.

The two-time UAAP champion said the physical and mental struggles she went through for the past two years - from her injury recovery to adjusting to the new training system amid the pandemic - served as her motivation for the fine play she produced for Chery Tiggo.

"When I finished rehab, I am raring to play but the pandemic came. So I adjusted to new system in training like Zoom training. Those struggles are my main motivation to play," Layug said.

Motivated to improve in every outing, Layug also said she hopes to share her mindset to her teammates as they work on becoming one of the feared teams in the newly professionalized volleyball league.

"Ang masasabi ko lang siguro isa din kami sa babantayan, isa din kami sa titignan ng bawat team. Pero as I told nga, kailangan ng improvement pa rin, hindi pwedeng masatisfied. Kailangan every game improve pa rin," Layug said.

[Translation: I can say we are one of those to be watched by other teams. But as I said, we still need to improve and we should not be satisfied with our past performances. We must improve every game.]

Layug and the Crossovers will be back on the court on July 22 as they aim for their third straight win against BaliPure Purest Water Defenders in the 6 p.m. main game.