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Gonzaga believes FEU could’ve won without her

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The Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws faced a tough road to defending their Shakey’s V-League title with the rest of the field retooling with powerful recruits and vets armed with international experience.

Still with returning guest player Jovelyn Gonzaga and fellow guest ward Royse Tubino in tow, the young batch of Lady Tams finished the tournament in third place, sweeping the UST Tigresses in their three-game series – the Ilongga, Gonzaga earned the best opposite hitter award along the way.

The National Team captain, however, thinks the Lady Tams would still have been successfully even with just their collegiate players.

“Alam niyo, kayang kaya niyo naman manalo without us [Royse and Jov], tignan niyo last game [Game One against UST] nanalo kayo ‘nung third set kahit wala kami. Kahit wala kami ni Royse, magtiwala lang kayo sa sarili niyo,” Gonzaga recalls telling the Lady Tams before the start of their Game Two series.

“Para sa akin, nakita ko kung paano sila nag-grow [kaya tingin ko hindi magiging malaki ‘yung kaibahan pagdating ng UAAP],” she replied when asked about the team’s chances in the upcoming UAAP tournament starting February next year.

Gonzaga also cited an exchange she had with current FEU setter, Kyle Negrito. Gonzaga praised the sophomore tosser for the vast improvement in her game. “May time pa nga na tinext ako ni Kyle, nagsosorry kasi di daw magaganda ‘yung set niya sa akin nung una. That was the time na hindi pa kami madalas nakakapag-practice with the team kasi may ensayo din kami with Army for the AFP Olympics. Ang sabi ko lang sa kanya, hindi mo lang alam kung gaanong kalaki na ang in-improve mo – lahat kami sa palagid mo tuwang tuwa kami sa laki ng improvement mo,” told the Army skipper.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Gonzaga believes FEU could've won without her

FEU’s players acknowledge how much of a difference playing with both Gonzaga and Tubino has made with their respective games. “Makikita mo lang po kung paano sila mag-practice saka maglaro, marami na akong natutunan. Sobrang halaga din po ng mga advice nila,” third year open hitter Bernadeth Pons said.

FEU performed valiantly in the tournament owing losses to only two fellow UAAP teams, Ateneo and NU. With their improved blocking and floor defense, expect the Lady Tams to make a serious run at making the Final Four again in Season 78.

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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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