It came as a surprise to many when it was announced that Jia Morado would be unable to play for Ateneo during the Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference. The young setter was apparently suffering from a knee injury that has been bothering her since the Ateneo Lady Eagle’s run for a back-to-back UAAP championship.
Months before her college debut, Morado suffered an ACL tear on her right knee. Then Lady Eagles coach, Roger Gorayeb first referred her to the country’s leading ACL reconstruction expert, Dr. Jose Raul Canlas. Canlas was able to get her up and running right before UAAP Season 76 when hopes were bleak that she was going to suit up for her debut season at all.
Fast forward to the end of Ateneo’s Season 77 campaign, and the screw used to keep her knee together after the operation loosened, causing Jia pain whenever she was in the court for extended minutes. She was supposed to have it operated on right after the season, but she chose to sacrifice a little while longer so that she would be able to play for the Philippines in the AVC U23 and SEA Games tournaments.
“I suffered an ACL tear before, and during the last UAAP medyo sumasakit yung tuhod ko. I had it checked and the screw was starting to get loose. I was supposed to have it operated on after the tournament, but U23 and the SEA Games happened so I had to put it off. Medyo masakit, pero natitiis ko naman.”
After the successful operation, she hopes to be back in the court as soon as possible, and while operations like this usually takes two to three months, the reigning UAAP Best Setter is optimistic about making a faster recovery.
“Kaka-operation ko lang nung Monday. Nagthetherapy na ako before the operation so at least medyo malakas pa yung tuhod ko. Hopefully makakabalik ako sa training in one month, pero sabi nila two to three months yung recovery period, so titignan nalang namin.”
While Jia’s absence left a deep hole in Ateneo’s starting six, her high school rival turned college teammate, Gizelle Tan, showed why she was considered by many to be the second best setter in her high school class in Ateneo’s victory over the UST Tigresses. Unable to play, Jia was stuck in the sidelines cheering her team on, and she loved what she saw from her replacement.
“Sobrang proud ako sa kanya. Kasi nakikita ko yung effort and paghihirap sa practice. Masaya ako na nagkakaroon na siya ng recognition for her efforts.”