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Gonzaga rues Army’s lack of killer instinct in Game One loss



With the odds stacked against them, the Army Lady Troopers approached a monumental upset when they had the heavily-stacked PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters on the ropes.

PLDT not only fielded two towering American imports, but also had the MVP of the past two SVL Conferences, Alyssa Valdez, suiting up for the first time conference. Army, however, persisted and claimed the first two frames of Game One of the best-of-three Finals series. Army’s stable, veteran poise shone as PLDT struggled for form with their new additions generating multiple errors.

Needing just one more set to claim the match, Army fell flat in the following sets. They were the first to reach match point in the third set, 24-23, but could not weather the ensuing Alyssa Valdez storm. The Lady Troopers again had the legions of PLDT fans deflated in the fourth set as they led 21-16. But PLDT’s bench ace Grethcel Soltones subbed in and powered a late PLDT rally to save the match and force a deciding fifth set. Down 14-12, Army retorted in the final moments of the match, and stole match point with a 3-0 rally, 15-14. But Army just could not get a kill to take the match while PLDT leaned on their plethora of options to seal the victory.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Gonzaga rues Army’s lack of killer instinct in Game One loss

Crowned the Conference MVP after the match, opposite hitter Jovelyn Gonzaga rued her team’s tentative play in the evenly-contested sets. “Siguro nagcocollapse na kami noong dulo. Isang factor na din siguro ‘yung pagod namin, pati siguro nagmamadali na kaming tapusin ‘yung laban – nag-iingat na kami na hindi magkamali,” a still spirited Gonzaga said after the match.

Gonzaga added that Army had prepared to play the full force of PLDT. “Expected na talaga namin na maglalaro sila (Valdez and imports). All credits to them, ang ganda nang nilaro nila.”

Citing how well her team played in the opening moments of the match, Gonzaga feels that Army only need to adjust their mentality when sets get tight. “Kailangan talaga may killer instinct na kami lalo na sa latter part kapag nagdikitan na. And kung ano pang makitang weakness ng coaching staff sa amin, eensayuhin na lang din namin.”

Having just lost the match when she received her MVP trophy, her third in her career, Gonzaga admits that she wasn’t as happy as she could have been. “Actually hindi ko siya in-expect. Feeling ko, sobrang blessed ko – na worth it lahat ng training, ng paghiirap… Ayoko namang i-deny, pero may part talaga sa akin na nalulungkot pa rin kasi nga talo kanina,” she remarked feinting her signature smile.

With Game Two coming next week, Sunday December 6 at the FilOil Fying V Arena, Gonzaga says that Army will approach the match like they approach every other game – with an unrelenting desire to win and soldier-in-the-field focus. “For us, we want to win every game – no matter the situation, no matter sino kalaban – we’ll prepare extremely hard and play out hearts out.”


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.