Regencia finally gets his time on ice
Aro Regencia’s favorite moment as a hockey player is not the Philippines’ gold medal clincher over Thailand in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.
“I couldn’t even remember it,” he told the Inquirer with a chuckle. “I barely had ice time so I was just tense and was praying the whole time.”
The first-line forward, though, has emerged as one of the Philippine Eagle’s integral cogs in its hot start in this year’s Southeast Asian Games.
And that’s quite a statement for one of the only three teens in the bunch, and for someone who had been sickly most of his life.
“I used to have asthma; I was also prone to flu, colds and the like,” said Regencia. “Miraculously, they’re all gone.”
Regencia, 19, was clutch in the Nationals’ match with Singapore, where the Philippines was lethargic in the first and middle periods.
He hit a pair of goals late to preserve the heavy lifting of skipper Steven Füglister and Sam Bengzon, and eventually seal the win for the Eagles.
Regencia also had a steady outing in the crucial win over Indonesia last Wednesday, the game that assured the Eagles a semifinal slot.
The two other youngsters in the team are 17-year-old Jann So Tiong and 16-year-old Carlo Tigaronita.
If there was a pivotal moment for his young career, Regencia said it would be during the team’s campaign in the Challenge Cup of Asia here last year.
“That was the first time they made an experiment—they tried putting me on the first line,” he said.
It probably also helped Regencia that he is close to Füglister.
“There was a time we just talked purely hockey. He just told me to not put so much stuff in my head. It all became clear to me after that,” he said.
As it turned out, it was the moment of clarity he needed. As a teen, Regencia said he was expectedly cynical.
“Since [some of us] are young, [we’re] prone to negativity,” he said. “Whenever we look at other teams, we see they’re big. They have better builds. [We felt there’s so much] difference.”
“But I told myself and the others that the only way we cope with those differences is by being smart,” he said.
“Hockey’s a really fast game. It’s a game of mistakes. You can’t afford to be indecisive because one slip up could adversely affect the team’s play,” he said.
Regencia swears by this approach, as he feels it’s also the very reason why he has been on a roll lately—also after the fact that the Eagles are now given ample attention, which translated to six months of proper training.
“I thought to myself, I need to step up,” he said of his recent showing. This is the first line, so I might as well.”
“I don’t want to be the one that hinders this team’s potential.”
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