If you haven’t seen much of Aiko Urdas for NU in the ongoing 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference, it’s because her battle against her injured knee is still ongoing, too.
After recovering from a torn ACL, Urdas has faced a few other minor injuries that has prevented her from helping her already-depleted team during the off-season.
The latest setback, she says, was another knee injury she suffered from during training a couple of weeks ago.
“‘Yung sa tuhod ko kasi na-injure na naman. Sa training po ‘yun nangyari. Lagpas po ‘yung bola sa net kaya hinabol ko. Pag land ko po tinukod ko. Pagtapos nun sobrang sakit na. Hindi na ako nakapag-training for 2 weeks,” she told FOX Sports.
On NU head coach Roger Gorayeb’s decision to limit her playing time, she adds: “Tinanggalan po ng tubig kasi sobrang maga. Natagalan po ang pagbalik kasi desisyon po ni coach. Gusto niya po pag naglaro ako wala na akong sakit na nararamdaman sa tuhod ko.”
With continuous strength and conditioning training, the Pangasinan native has inched her way back into seeing action for the Lady Bulldogs.
In their matchup against cellar-dweller Baguio Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre, Urdas was finally called back to duty midway through the second set as she finished the match as third-best scorer with 8 points.
“Hindi naman po ako nafu-frustrate pero madaming beses na po nadali ang tuhod ko,” shared the unassuming spiker. “Nung una po natatakot ako na baka maulit na naman. Pero nung nagpa-check-up naman ako na-assure naman po ako na okay naman na po.”
While her maiden year in the collegiate ranks was highlighted by the Rookie of the Year awarded she was given by the UAAP in Season 75, the succeeding seasons have been nothing short of tough for Urdas as she struggled to return to her old form.
For her, however, she is just down but definitely not out.
“Love ko po ‘yung paglalaro ng volleyball. Tsaka gustong gusto ko po na mag champion ang team namin sa UAAP bago man lang ako maka-graduate,” she said, talking about why she keeps going. “Gusto ko maibalik sa school lahat ng tulong na binigay nila sa akin lalo na ‘yung libreng pag-aaral.”
Her and her teammates’ goals of finally getting the UAAP crown for NU will be extra tough in 2017 after a big chunk of the roster was removed from the team.
But if their performance in the V-League is any indication, Gorayeb and the Lady Bulldogs are headed on the right path to building a competitive lineup for Season 79.
“Aminado naman po ako na magiging mahirap pero hindi naman po siguro imposible,” said Urdas.
“Basta magtutulong-tulong po kami,” she added. “Buwis-buhay na ako at kami sa training. ‘Yung dalawang oras namin sa training everyday, kailangan namin i-dedicate sa paglalaro. Dun lang ang isip namin at puso.” — By Mac Dionisio