Another conference, another target on their backs.
Wherever the RC Cola-Army Lady Troopers compete, they have always been tagged as favorites. Despite their constant insistence that age has been catching up with them, the Lady Troopers’ championship reputation always wins out on their opponents’ minds.
For Jovelyn Gonzaga, she’s used to the pressure of having to perform – it’s ingrained in her personality.
“Hindi naman sa sanay [na lagi kaming favorites]. Nakatatak na sa puso’t isipan namin na kailangan every game ibuhos namin,” the team captain said.
Just a few months ago, the Lady Troopers made a historic run during the 2016 PSL Invitational Cup. They were the only team to defeat Thai selection team Est Cola and bringing home the title. In addition, Gonzaga took home another MVP trophy to add to her growing collection.
Army’s open hitter is aware that almost every squad grew stronger from that tournament, adding talent at almost every position.
Next to the younger teams, the Lady Troopers look aged and seem vulnerable in long matches. “Habang nag-eensayo ang mga ibang team, nagpapahinga lang kami,” Army head coach Kung-Fu Reyes quipped during the PSL AFC press conference. “Sabi nga nila matatanda na kami.”
“Lahat ng team lumakas, ayon ‘yung challenge – every team nagdagdag ng mga player and mas tumataaas pa ‘yung level ng competition,” the 24 year old added.
The Bionic Gwapa knows exactly how much her team needs her both offensively and defensively. As one of the younger players in the team, Gonzaga’s health and conditioning is imperative to their team.
“Nagdo-double time pa ako. Pinapalakas ko talaga yung katawan ko para pagdating sa laro, mas prepared ako kung anuman yung expectation ng team from me,” she remarked.
“Hindi kami kailangan sabihin na mag-push kasi everyone sa team is motivated – na kailangan namin magpakundisyon para every game magkaka-level kami ng laro.”
“Inspiration namin yung mga seniors namin kasi kahit sa training talagang nakakasabay sila. It’s a challenge na kaming mga bata ang kailangan mag-step up.”
The Lady Troopers start their season against the Amy’s Kitchen Spikers on Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre.