It's still an intact roster for Creamline even as Alyssa Valdez does her rehab at the sidelines.
Alyssa Valdez gingerly made her first step on to a platform. She breathed a sigh of relief and clapped. She covered her face as emotions came pouring in, and fanned her eyes to keep the tears at bay.
It was only one of many rehabilitation videos the Creamline Cool Smashers captain posted on Tuesday, as she shared her road to recovery from a knee injury sustained last December.
"I was so scared to take that first step, single leg squats and a lot more exercises. Grabe! Just grateful to all the people who have been supporting and helping me—my doctors, PTs and my Cool Smashers family," Valdez posted on Instagram. "Long way to go but slow progress is still progress."
"I hope you find that something that will inspire and motivate you. It could be the smallest thing or situation in front of you," she added.
Her single leg squats even earned praises from teammate Michele Gumabao. "Mas magaling pa siya mag single leg squats sa'kin," she commented on the post.
Valdez continues to do her rehabilitation sessions as the Cool Smashers trained for the 2023 Premier League All-Filipino Conference. Setter Jia Morado-De Guzman was named as co-captain on the court.
Coach Sherwin Meneses earlier told One Sports that they're not closing the doors on Valdez playing in the conference, but they're letting her focus on recovery.
"Naku, malayo pa tayo," Valdez told One Sports when asked if she was near 100%. "I'm just really happy with the girls. I've been seeing them train so hard, preparing for this conference. I'm really excited to watch them, play with them, kung ano pwede."
The Creamline Cool Smashers were quiet during the off-season as teams announced new players and new coaches, as the defending champions remained intact. But while there's nothing new with the team's lineup, Valdez says there are still plenty of changes inside after they failed to reach the finals of the 2022 Reinforced Conference.
"At the end, we can't be complacent. Pero as a team, everyone's very competitive. Sobrang lahat fighter din talaga, kaya kahit matagal na rin kaming magkakasama, we still learn from each other, we still grow," she said, prompting a "Yes!" from Tots Carlos.
"I think we're banking on that," the captain added.