April 14, 2024

PVL: Alinsunurin prioritizes health as Ogunsanya hurts knee, Wong sidelined in Choco Mucho opener

PVL: Alinsunurin prioritizes health as Ogunsanya hurts knee, Wong sidelined in Choco Mucho opener
Deanna Wong sits out Choco Mucho-Nxled bout in the 2024 PVL All-Filipino Conference due to a nagging knee injury. | Photo (c) RM Chua

Choco Mucho Flying Titans head coach Dante Alinsunurin is putting a premium on health after the squad suffered bites from the injury bug on Thursday night.

The ube squad began the 2024 PVL All-Filipino Conference with lead setter Deanna Wong in a Choco Mucho shirt, instead of a jersey, in the match against the Nxled Chameleons.

By the third frame of the Flying Titans' three-set rout of the Nxled Chameleons, middle blocker Aduke Ogunsanya had an awkward fall, twisting her left knee after a block attempt.

The La Salle product screamed in frustration before finding the strength to stand up and walk to the locker room, prompting the crowd to applaud in support.

"Medyo malungkot kasi ngayon, di pa namin alam ano nangyari kay Aduke," Alinsunurin said.

Ogunsanya, who tore her right ACL in 2022, will have to undergo medical tests to assess the severity of her injury. She had just returned to the court in the 2023 PVL Second All-Filipino Conference.

[ALSO READ: Aduke Ogunsanya to make successful return from torn ACL, has advice for those with same injury]

Meanwhile, Wong, who has been dealing with a right shin injury since her Ateneo days, is still nursing her knee. This was particularly aggravated in Choco Mucho's run late in the previous conference.

"Si Deanna, nagkaproblema pa 'yung tuhod niya. Pero anytime naman na kailangan nandun siya, wag pwersahin. Makakalaro rin naman siya," the longtime NU tactician shared.

"Mas importante na 100% na siya 'pag sinama na namin."

While Choco Mucho's desire for redemption remains steadfast, Alinsunurin is wise enough not to risk the well-being of his wards. Choco Mucho has a history of ACL injuries, with team captain Maddie Madayag returning to the court in 2022. Des Cheng, on the other hand, is still recovering after tearing her ACL back in October.

"Siyempre, mas importante sa amin 'yung kalusugan nila," he said.

Fortunately for Alinsunurin, the rest of the Flying Titans are capable of filling the void left by their injured teammates.

For one, newcomer Mars Alba has stepped up in the absence of Wong. She ably orchestrated the Choco Mucho offense with 18 excellent sets, generating a 45-28 spike differential versus Nxled.

[ALSO READ: PVL: Mars Alba steps up for Choco Mucho in Deanna Wong's absence]

Madayag, Cherry Nunag, and Maika Ortiz have also proven to be up to task of plugging the gap left by Ogunsanya in the middle.

With reliable troopers at his disposal, Alinsunurin is eager to steer the Flying Titans to victory.

"Basta importante sa amin ngayon, kailangan naming ayusin laro namin," he stated.

Next up for Choco Mucho will be Petro Gazz on February 27, Tuesday, at the PhilSports Arena.

The 6 p.m game will air on One Sports, One Sports+, and the Pilipinas Live app.