This Phoenix Volley Master rises from the bottom

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Edward Arroyo (No. 12) of Instituto Estetico Manila trades celebratory high fives with his fellow Phoenix Volley Masters after scoring on a block, one of three he made during IEM’s straight-set conquest of Café Lupe May 23.

If you want something very badly, go for it and never give up.      

Thus said six-foot-two Edward Arroyo of Instituto Estetico Manila, sweat drenching his lean frame from playing most of the three sets the Phoenix Volleyball Masters needed to dispatch the Café Lupe Sunrisers on Tuesday to keep their semifinal hopes in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference alive. 

During all the years that he had been playing volleyball since he was 12 years old up until he reached the age of 35, he warmed the bench more than his feet warmed the court.

At 36 now, all the sacrifices he made and the extra mile he walked, so to speak, have yielded the dividends he most desired as a player – a spot on the first team of IEM, his mother team for four years now.     

Arroyo said his mom had taught him how to play the sport when he was in Grade VI in Don Bosco- Mandaluyong. She must have taught him well for the youngest of her two sons easily made his school elementary team and on through high school.  

Forbidden by his parents to play varsity in Dominican College in San Juan City so he could concentrate on his HRM studies, he dutifully followed their wishes. But during and after his collegiate years, he took up the sport left and right for fun or competitively during school intramurals or as a member of this and that group or ball club.

It was his lament that he never started for whatever his team was at the time, whether it was the Don Bosco elementary or high school squad or the different groups or clubs he joined during and after Dominican College.

“I would always ask myself when I’d be starting for a team; I was growing tired of playing as a substitute, of getting very short minutes if ever I was sent in to the court.”    

Arroyo kept training harder and harder. 

“After our regular team training, I would still have enough energy left to play with friends mostly for fun. But always when I played, whether for fun or not, my intention was to improve my game.”     

And so when he turned 36 or after 24 years or so of playing second fiddle to his teammates, he got what he so fervently wished for in his life.

On the day that action in the opening season of the Premier Volleyball League, organized by Sports Vision in a joint effort with Asics as official league partner and Mikasa as official game ball, started IEM coach Jun Balubar picked Arroyo as one of his starters against Philippine Army.

“Edward’s time has finally come,” said Balubar before the game. “His game has leveled up by dint of hard work. Plus I need tall blockers and he has the height. I also feel that whenever he is on the court, he brings lightness of feelings among his teammates. He breaks the tension or nerves that the others might be having. He makes them think that if he can stand up to the opposition, all the more they can.”

Arroyo said he has a lot to thank volleyball for. Playing the sport has kept him trim and fit and gained him a lot of friends, among them cosmetic surgeon Dr. Reyvic Cerilles, owner-manager of IEM.   

Dr. Cerilles recruited him on his team and gave him his present job as well. For three years now, he has been working as IEM clinic manager. 



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