She was fielded in for just a brief moment but it was a dream come true nonetheless for Ateneo’s rookie setter Deanna Wong.
Leading by a mile against winless UE in the 3rd set, Lady Eagles head coach Tai Bundit allowed his bench players to see action, sending in Wong to orchestrate the last play with a set to Alyssa Valdez which served as the final nail in the coffin for the Lady Warriors.
“It feels great talaga. My dream is to play in the UAAP and even if little time lang I’m so grateful for having the chance to play,” she told FOX Sports.
“I was so nervous. My hands were so cold. Parang I couldn’t move,” she added, talking about her initial reaction upon being summoned by Bundit. “But the team encouraged me. Sila Ate Ly (Valdez), Ate Kiwi (Ahomiro) said go lang kasi alam nila kaya ko. I also know naman na kaya ko.”
Getting thrust into the rigid training program of Bundit could somehow culture shock a freshman like her especially coming from the high school ranks where it is not as competitive.
It was all worth it, however, when she finally stepped foot inside the court.
“The training with coach Tai (Bundit) is really hard. At some point it’s so tiring na. Pero it also pushed me to really train because I really want to play,” admitted the Cebuana.
“Seeing a little bit of action inspires me to even go harder,” she added. “I understand naman that I will get little playing time since Ate Jia (Morado) is really a great setter. I’m just waiting for my time to come talaga.”
Speaking of Morado, Wong also briefly talked about the pressure of being next in line to the Season 77 best setter awardee.
“There is pressure being next in line to her because it’s hard to replace her. No one can replace Ate Jia pero I’m trying to be like her,” she shared. “I’m learning her moves. She’s teaching me naman what to do. I’m thankful that I’m part of the team and naging teammate ko siya.”
It should also be remembered that just a couple of months back, Wong was quoted in saying she leans towards accepting the offer from rival school La Salle as she sees her self getting more playing time in the Taft squad.
But as fate would have it, the playmaker joined Ateneo instead and she believes she made the right decision.
“I said that being in La Salle I’d get more playing time,” she said. “Now playing time doesn’t really matter. What matters is the school and the team itself. I’m really honored to be a part of it.”
“I made the right decision, yes.”
“Worked hard, play hard, pero study hard pa din ang importante,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio