After finishing dead-last in UAAP Season 79, Jema Galanza vowed to do whatever it takes to lift Adamson University to the top in her final year.
And the Lady Falcons’ ascent was already at full throttle with the return of Fhen Emnas and Mylene Paat, along with the addition of talented transferees Eli Soyud and Chiara Permentilla in the lineup.
In fact, the team was already a win away from securing a semifinals berth in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference — up until a cloud of uncertainty shrouded Adamson’s once-promising season.
Galanza — whom then-head coach Air Padda considered the ‘heart and soul’ of the team — suffered a harrowing right ankle injury during Adamson’s match-up against St. Benilde. The Queen Falcon went up for a block, stepped on a teammate’s foot, and twisted her ankle severely.
“Nung nandun kasi nakabagsak na ako. ‘Di ba nakadapa po ako? Nung una talaga hindi ko iniisip na ganun ‘yung nangyari, pero kasi sobrang sakit na niya and hindi siya nawawala ‘yung sakit, umaakyat siya hanggang puwet eh,” shared Galanza in vodcast Volleyball DNA hosted by Denden Lazaro and Anton Roxas.
“Tapos sabi ko hindi, hindi puwede. Maglalaro pa ako ng last playing year ko!
“Nung palapit na sila, tinanong ako nung isang referee ano daw ba ‘yung masakit sa akin. Tapos pagkaangat ko ng paa, nagulat silang lahat, nagtakbuhan sila tapos lumayo sila sa akin kasi nakita na nga nila na naka-number seven daw ‘yung ankle ko. So nung nakita ko ‘yung reaction nila sabi ko ito na talaga, katapusan na ata ng career ko,” she continued.
Galanza was rushed to Cardinal Santos Medical Center after the game. Adamson won in straight sets, 25-19, 25-20, 25-17 to secure a seat in the semis with a clean 4-0 sweep of Group B.
No fractured bones were found, and the timetable of Galanza’s recovery was set for four months.
Fueled by her desire to finish her collegiate career strong, the San Pablo, Laguna-native overcame the odds and was up and running by December — three months after the incident.
“Sa sobrang gusto kong makabalik kasi September ‘yun eh, September mangyari. After ilang araw nag-therapy na ako tapos sinasabi ko sa PT ko na kailangan kong makatalon na ng December, pero sabi four months,” said Galanza.
“Pero sabi ko, ‘Hindi! Two or three months lang tayo. Kailangan January nakakalaro na ako.'”
Despite missing the Final Four in Season 80, the 5-foot-7 open hitter went on to fulfill her promise to the school . She came back, lifting Adamson out of the cellar for a respectable fifth-place finish — a win away from tying fourth-seeded National University for a playoff.