BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — After a tough grind that saw her steer Ateneo to the UAAP Season 81 title, Deanna Wong took a break from volleyball to refresh.
The 23-year-old Cebuana would have returned to Katipunan for Season 83, but the COVID-19 pandemic scrapped the entire volleyball calendar in the past year, including Deanna’s.
So, with the collegiate season still uncertain, Wong abandoned her desire to return. She instead focused on backing Choco Mucho’s campaign in the inaugural professional season of the Premier Volleyball League.
Now back on the court after almost two years away from competitive volleyball, the 5-foot-8 Wong relishes every minute of her return.
And she’s just glad to go through the journey with a team she can call her family.
“Sobrang grateful, I’m really happy. Two years kasi nawala, [so] I’m just really grateful na bumalik ‘yung volleyball, bumalik ‘yung paglaro namin, bumalik ‘yung team,” Wong expressed after the Flying Titans’ sweep of the Cignal HD Spikers on Tuesday.
“It’s been really tough the past few months. It’s been really rough and they were there para i-support ako. Andyan para sa akin, nagmamahal. Sobrang grateful ako sa kanila talaga.”
In her fourth game in the Open Conference here at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center, Wong tallied 19 excellent sets along with three points. She helped Choco Mucho nab its fourth-straight win 26-24, 25-12, 25-17, at the expense of Cignal.
“It’s okay, it’s great. Parang more to improve on every game naman. We’re slowly getting there even if bago pa lang ako sa Choco Mucho. It’s the system, kasi we know each other — nung college nagkasama kami. And it’s about getting to know each other talaga,” she shared.
“Hindi lang siya team, we’re really a family. ‘Yun ‘yung nakapag-angat sa amin ng slight lang naman.”
For Choco Mucho and Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro, the architect of his UAAP Season 81 championship team was a welcome addition to the Flying Titans.
Besides their unwavering trust with one another, Wong’s exceptional grasp of Almadro’s system will definitely be a vital key for Choco Mucho in its bid to win the PVL Open Conference title.
“Si Boss D, apple ko yan. Talagang kilala na niya ‘ko. ‘Yung galit ko, ‘yung intensity ko, she can manage. Bata pa kasi kilala ko na ‘yan. I know how she plays and I really trust her and ‘yung maganda, she’s trusting my system,” said Almadro.
“And ‘yung maganda sa lahat matapang si Deanna. She’s really a brave setter. Kung hindi man siya ang pinaka-superstar na setter, she’s really a brave setter and siya ‘yung setter na love ng mga teammates niya.“