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Tiebreaker Times


Gonzaga admits re-adjusting to indoor game

After winning a bronze medal in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, the pressure is now on Jovelyn Gonzaga’s shoulders to lift Army-Black Mamba out of the Premier Volleyball League cellar.

“Sobra akong excited, yung excitement nandoon naman talaga,” said the 2015 V-League Most Valuable Player during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum held at Century Park Hotel.

“Nandoon din yung pressure pero ayoko siyang tutukan kasi more on nandoon ako sa ang drive ko is makatulong sa team kasi alam naman natin yung nangyari last season kung ano yung naging standing ng team,” she added, as the Lady Troopers finished at seventh place in the Open Conference earlier this year.

Gonzaga missed the Open Conference earlier this year to focus on her campaign in the SEA Games. The 30-year-old veteran, along with her partner Dij Rodriguez, defeated Vietnam’s Truong Duong My Huyen and Nguyen Thi Thanh Tram to help the Filipinas nab their second consecutive bronze medal in the biennial meet.

However, the Lady Troopers sorely missed Gonzaga’s presence in their campaign as they finished in seventh place in the nine-team field.

“As much as possible, yung expectations din ng team sakin kasi coming from SEA Games [nasa] ‘daw’ ako and ayun nga, nakakuha ng medalya so ang expectation is makakatulong talaga ako sa team,” said the product of Central Philippines University.

The former national team stalwart will be coming back to an Army side armed with new talents such as Michelle Morente, Nechole Ebuen, Jeanette Villareal, Ivy Perez, and Aiko Urdas, who all played for the team in the previous tournament.

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Indeed, the quintet will play a huge role for the Lady Troopers this conference, especially with the absence of Royse Tubino and Lut Malaluan.

With the Invitationals just a week away, Gonzaga’s top priority is to form a connection with Perez, who is entering her second season with Army.

“Ang focus ko lang talaga is magkaroon kami ng connection nung setter kasi si Ibyang [Perez] ngayon ko lang din magiging setter e so yun yung wino-workout namin ngayon tapos at the same time yung leadership kasi wala rin si Royse [Tubino], sakto kasi nasa school siya,” shared Gonzaga.

As for her transition from the sands to the Taraflex, Gonzaga bared that she encountered a few bumps in the road but assured that she is more than ready for the upcoming Invitationals.

“Ang hirap niya para sa akin, lalo na sa katawan ko kasi sanay ako soft, sa buhangin tapos into hardcourt so tingin mo kundisyon ka pero pagdating sa training after ng training ang sakit ng katawan mo kasi iba talaga,” she said.

“Doon lang ako nahihirapan, sa galaw naman volleyball pa rin naman same language lang pero siguro doon lang ako nahirapan sa katawan ko.”

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