Jovelyn Gonzaga of the Philippine Army Lady Troopers is one of the marquee utility spikers that the country has to offer. With her versatile play, Gonzaga can easily blend into any team’s scheme.
Freshly crowned as the best opposite spiker in the recently concluded Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Open Conference, Gonzaga played a key role in Army’s campaign despite starting the season slowly due to her recovery from injury.
In Army’s tough five-set defeat, 22-25, 25-18, 26-24, 26-28, 13-15, against the eventual champion PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters, Gonzaga’s skill set was on full display as she amassed an all-around performance of 19 points, 12 digs and 5 blocks.
“Ang bilis ng mga pangyayari. Kung baga kung nasa loob ka ng court, hindi mo na alam kung ano ang nangyayari tapos parang may mental block ka na rin,” Gonzaga said on Army’s thrilling championship bout against PLDT. “Kung sino ang may gusto at iyong pinakalamang na gustong manalo, iyon lang talaga. Credit sa team PLDT, sobrang ganda ang nilaro.”
With the V-League wars now on a break, it is now time for Gonzaga to take on a bigger role as she was named team captain of the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team that shall compete in the upcoming 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore this coming June 10 to June 15.
Being named as the team’s captain, Gonzaga knows that the stakes and expectations, coupled with the increasing popularity of volleyball, are really high since they will be playing for the honor and pride of the country. Furthermore, this also marks the country’s return to the SEA Games volleyball tournament since last joining in 2005 wherein the Philippines placed third.
“Expectations [for SEA Games]? Kasi tapos na ang kanya-kanyang club team responsibilities namin so responsibility naman sa bansa ang ibibigay namin. Sa expectations kasi lagi naman sinasabi ng coaches sa amin, na paghirapan muna natin at huwag muna tayong mag-isip na ito ang target natin,” Gonzaga remarked. “Paghirapan muna natin at unti-unti pagtutulungan muna natin hanggang sa maabot ang goal natin. Gusto talaga namin sa team na magkaroon ng ligaya.”
Aside from Gonzaga, the Philippine SEA Games Women’s Volleyball team is composed of Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado, Denden Lazaro and Bea De Leon, Petron’s Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Rachel Ann Daquis and Abigail Maraño, Air Force’s Rhea Dimaculangan and Maika Ortiz, National University’s Jaja Santiago, San Sebastian College’s Gretchel Soltones and Cagayan Valley’s Aiza Maizo-Pontillas.
The team’s coaching staff will feature Roger Gorayeb as head coach while the assistant coaches are composed of Anusorn “Tai” Bundit and Edjet Mabbayad. Maizo-Pontillas is also part of the assistant coaches and is also a reserve player for the team in case any untoward incidents happen.
The Philippines is currently situated in Group B of the tournament together with Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. In addition, other participating countries include host nation Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar.