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Gonzaga, Army one win away from redeeming season

The RC Cola-Army Lady Troopers have seen better days.

There was a time when Army were shoo-ins for the Finals of whichever league the were in. They’ve won two Shakey’s V-League titles and four Philippine Superliga championships off their sheer discipline and talent.

The Lady Troopers have struggled recently. They still have names that once struck fear in opponents even before the opening serve. But that is the problem; they’re no longer as intimidating as they once were.

The Lady Troopers still rely on skipper Tina Salak and her fellow veterans Nene Bautista and Michelle Carolino. Although they still show immense passion for the game, their bodies just cannot perform at a rate they once did.PSL-GP-2016-Army-vs.-Cignal-Salak-2869 Gonzaga, Army one win away from redeeming season News PSL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Among the veterans is 25-year-old Jovelyn Gonzaga – the diamond Army dug up from Guimaras. The four-year Army hitter has been carrying the team with her all-around brilliance, winning countless awards in just a short period of time.

But, in the current PSL season, the Lady Troopers have finally slumped. After winning the Invitational Cup, Army failed to make the All-Filipino Conference Finals due to a malady of late injuries. In the on-going Grand Prix, RC Cola failed to notch a win against any of the top-three teams, relegating them to the fourth seed.

However, the Lady Troopers summoned a throwback lashing of the Generika Lifesavers to enter the semifinals. Gonzaga, who has been averaging close to 14 points, six digs, and seven receptions this conference, thinks Army is finally peaking.

“Kung anuman ‘yung training program namin, nagiging effective na siya,” Gonzaga told Tiebreaker Times.

“Nagkaroon din kami ng drive kasi hindi talaga puwedeng hindi kami makaabot sa semis kasi nasa record na ng Army na lagi kaming nasa Finals. And I think everyone of us is may pride na din na magperform at hindi hayaan na matapos na lang ‘yung season.”

The Invitational Cup MVP admitted that she felt Army has lagged behind in recruiting players, the reason for their recent slump.PSL-GP-Army-vs.-Cignal-Daquis-5984 Gonzaga, Army one win away from redeeming season News PSL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

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“Maraming teams talaga na paangat – na maraming nakukuhang players. May nakukuha din naman kami pero, sa tingin ko, naging stagnant din kami,” she said.

Ahead of the Lady Troopers are the Foton Tornadoes, who have had a recruiting coup over the past two years, continually adding talent and topping the Grand Prix standings after the elimination round.

Having lost to Foton twice, Gonzaga is hoping for a revitalized showing in their do-or-die semifinals match.PSL-GP-2016-Foton-vs.-Army-Gonzaga-4290 Gonzaga, Army one win away from redeeming season News PSL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Nabigiyan namin sila (Foton) ng challenge noong second round. Alam kong kaya talaga namin. Siguro, kailangan lang namin ilabas ‘yung spirit ng Army – ‘yung attitude namin sa laro before na nagdala sa amin namg success. Kaya naman talaga namin,” Gonzaga closed.

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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