MANILA, Philippines -- Deanna Wong will be suiting up for the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference next month, but her coach admits that the setter is not at 100%.
Wong suffered a shin injury in the playoffs of the PVL Open Conference earlier this year, which eventually forced her to miss the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
"She'll be playing, but right now, hindi pa siya 100%," Choco Mucho coach Oliver Almadro said of Wong on Tuesday at the sidelines of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Century Park Hotel.
"She's still recovering, doing therapy para maging game-ready siya this season," he added.
Almadro said that the injury was a recurring one for Wong, who also endured a stress fracture in her right shin during her time with the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
"Right after college, 'yun na 'yung iniinda niya, and siyempre 'yun, tuloy-tuloy ang therapy. And alam niyo naman, sa atin sa Pilipinas, kailangan 'yung alaga sa katawan, strengthening, kailangan continuous 'yan," Almadro said.
Also still out for the Flying Titans is middle blocker Maddie Madayag, who continues to recover from the knee injury that she sustained in last year's Open Conference.
Meanwhile, Desiree Cheng will also be playing in the Invitational, but like Wong, she is also not at peak fitness. The former De La Salle University standout is also undergoing therapy for a previous injury, said Almadro.
"Now, I guess, okay naman siya. Hindi pa 100%, but going there," he explained.
Despite these challenges, the Flying Titans are entering the Invitational Conference with high expectations. After placing fourth in the Open Conference, they are eyeing a breakthrough into the podium this time around.
"We're hoping na we'll be able to enter the Final 4 this conference, and maka-podium finish ang team," said veteran setter Jem Ferrer.
"Hopefully, itong season there will be no injuries for all the teams, and tumaas pa ang level ng volleyball," added Almadro.
The Invitational Conference starts on July 9, with Choco Mucho playing Chery Tiggo in their first match at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.