With Lazaro around, Titans ready to go

WITH battle-tested libero Dennise Lazaro suiting up for Choco Mucho in the PVL, Creamline star Alyssa Valdez believes that the Flying Titans will be a force to be reckoned with.

“I think ako masasabi ko lang Choco Mucho has really won already by getting Den,” said Valdez during last

Wednesday's "Crossover" vodcast.

In dire need of improving its receiving and floor defense, Choco Mucho acquired Lazaro, reuniting her former Ateneo teammates Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino, to improve its seventh place finish in the previous conference.

"We started training January so that was a pretty easy transition for me since most of my teammates I’ve played with before sa Ateneo and with other pro club teams,” said Lazaro, who also guested in the vodcast.

Lazaro's entry was timely for the Flying Titans, as they lost Bang Pineda, who moved back to a rival club league.

Choco Mucho will formally make an announcement soon on two more players to boost its stock in the Open Conference, which is on hold due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Valdez and Lazaro had a rich history together being the pillars of the historic Ateneo squad that brought down a thrice-to-beat La Salle in the UAAP women's volleyball Finals in 2014 while also garnering a perfect 16-0 campaign the following season.

Wary of Lazaro’s competitiveness, Valdez gladly accepts the challenge that her erstwhile teammate brings to the table.

“As much as super excited na ako, ganon din ako syempre kinakabahan kasi I know Den, I know her capabilities and her abilities. Hindi lang siya basta basta libero. She would really fight for her teammates and at the same time, in a way na alam mo yan Den diba?,” said Valdez.

“Honestly, siyempre nakakatakot kasi alam mo yung kayang gawin din talaga ni Den but at the same time, as an athlete, as a volleyball player, siyempre you challenge yourself,” she added.

Valdez and Lazaro last time became teammates in 2016, playing for BaliPure in the now defunct V-League.

Girding up for her PVL debut, Lazaro is happy to have some familiar faces in Choco Mucho.

“Two people I haven’t worked with was actually Coach Oliver and ate Illa Santos. It’s a new system to be at used to but I just have to keep an open mind so I’m looking forward to resuming practice,” said Lazaro.

The Cool Smashers and the Flying Titans, along with the rest of the PVL teams, have halted their training since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the two stars are currently using their spare time doing their home workouts to remain in shape.