THE irony isn't lost on Mean Mendrez that playing through a nagging shoulder injury all season long, it was tonsillitis which cost her a match for University of the East this UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament.
"Di rin ako pinalaro ni coach kasi di rin ako nagte-training," she said following her side's straight sets defeat to defending champion La Salle on Wednesday.
Mendrez fell ill after coming back from a Holy Week vacation, saying, "Nung nasa Baguio ako nung Holy Week, nagkasakit ako. Pag-uwi ko rito, lumala na siya dahil nilagnat ako tapos tonsillitis."
That led to her missing the Lady Warriors' training since Monday, forcing coach Karl Dimaculangan to sit her out for their penultimate assignment.
Rather than be down for her failure to suit up, Mendrez looked at it differently as she felt happy seeing senior Jas Alcayde get her place in the first six.
"Siguro blessing in disguise sa iba. Parang si ate Jas (Alcayde), naka-first six pa siya sa last playing year na niya. Siguro, maganda rin na hindi ako nakalaro para silang graduating, sama-sama," she said.
The fourth-year open hitter, though, expects to be ready for UE's last match against Ateneo on Sunday.
Also, the Lady Warriors (3-10) want to have a positive send off for graduating players Judith Abil, Kat Arado, Roselle Baliton, Jana Sta. Maria, Lai Bendong and Alcayde.
"Laging sinasabi ni coach na last games namin is yung top teams, so hindi namin iniisip na Ateneo, La Salle yung last games namin. Ang main goal namin is ilaban lang ng ilaban. Wala naman sa amin yung pressure. All-out na lang lagi," Mendrez said.