AJ Pareja juggles time as doctor, beach volleyball player
MANILA, Philippines — For the longest time and especially when he became a medical practitioner in 2014, AJ Pareja has mastered the art of balancing his profession and volleyball career.
That’s why Pareja has been able to cope despite the difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve been living out this balancing act ever since from college, med school, even during medical practice so I kind of have a grasp of it. It’s all about accepting that both commitments have high demands and figuring out when you can compromise effort for either one without negatively affecting the overall result,” said Pareja.
“I’ve learned to say no when it doesn’t help in the progress of either commitment. It also helps a lot to have a support circle that understands your frequent absences because of these commitments.”
Pareja was one of the players included by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) in the men’s beach volleyball pool.
The 6-foot-4 middle hitter made the cut after impressing in the Subic tryouts last month.
“The preparation has been there since day one of the pandemic. It wasn’t an overnight success. Regardless if gyms or training facilities were closed, I kept my physical condition with home based workouts as well as keeping my nutrition in check despite the constant temptation of binging at home,” said Pareja, who was paired with the comebacking James Pecaña during the tryouts.
“Biggest key to my performance is having a professional coach who helped me study the sport at home and analyze lots and lots of videos of how the elite level beach players do it,” he added.
Pareja, who joined Creamline’s program last year, knows what it takes to represent the country on the international stage having been part of the Philippine team in indoor volleyball in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
“I’ve known AJ since he was a teenager and I’m so proud of all his accomplishments. His goal has always been to represent our country in the international arena and I am so happy to journey with him towards his ultimate dream,” said Creamline beach volleyball program head Charo Soriano.
“As the Team MD of Creamline Beach, I will ensure that the athletes are free from any injuries and that they’re keeping themselves safe and healthy despite the pandemic. Drafting the medical protocols for all team activities has been both a learning and fulfilling activity for me especially to my other life as an MD,” said Pareja, who is also eyeing to become an accredited FIVB doctor.
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.