Jovelyn Gonzaga turned heads and raised eyebrows when she suited up for the Cignal HD Spikers in the 2019 PSL All Filipino Conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Despite playing in the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference for the PacificTown-Army Lady Troopers – a tournament coinciding the PSL AFC – she still honored her contract with Cignal.
The process to formalize her decision was not easy, though.
For one, the PSL has been implementing a one-league rule, in which a player cannot play in a different league if he or she is currently playing for the PSL.
However, Gonzaga, the management of the HD Spikers, and PSL were able to discuss things, which eventually led to her reunion with Cignal.
“Sa PSL talaga ako thankful kasi inintindi at pinalawak nila yung understanding nila sa situation, since ang Army kasi trabaho ko talaga. Yun yung ine-emphasize: na job ko na yun so ini-list ako sa Army dahil naglalaro ako sa Army; dahil hindi ko pwedeng tanggalin yun sa akin,” the 27-year-old Army Corporal gushed.
“Naintindihan ng PSL na yun yung mother team mo. Doon talaga yung trabaho. Nagse-serve ka sa country, yun yung bottomline sa Army – yung trabaho,” she continued.
Cignal head coach Edgar Barroga also mentioned that in order to persuade the league to give the green light for Gonzaga’s case, they cited Jaja Santiago’s case back in 2016. Back then, Santiago played with both the National University during the PVL’s Collegiate Conference and Foton in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship,
“Ang nilaban kasi namin, pagdating sa ano niya kasi… Si Jaja dati, naglalaro sa NU kasi mother school niya yun. Si Jovelyn naman, mother unit niya is Army, so wala siyang choice kundi maglaro siya sa Army. Eh naka-line up siya sa amin, so alam naman ng PSL yun. Pinayagan naman,” Barroga stated.
The 5-foot-8 opposite hitter has just returned from an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury she incurred back in 2017. And her Army and Cignal family gave her the support she needed in order to return to the Taraflex.
For this, and the understanding that they provided regarding her decision to play with Cignal, Gonzaga is beyond grateful.
“Sobrang thankful naman ako kasi naintindihan nila yung case ko,” bared Gonzaga, referring to PacificTown-Army.
“Sobrang supportive ng Army sa akin. Thankful ako doon and laking utang ng loob ko sa kanila. And yung Cignal naman kailangan ko bumawi from ilang years hindi ako naglaro, thankful din ako na inintindi nila yung situation ko.”
Gonzaga feels an overwhelming sense of responsibility to repay the good deeds she has received from both Cignal and Army. But she is more than ready to get into action amid the hectic schedule that entails her decision.
She first played in Cignal’s conference opener, wherein she poured in 11 points to go along a massive dose of leadership. Then Gonzaga will figure in another crucial outing with the Lady Troopers tomorrow, when they face reigning champions Creamline. She then has another match with Cignal the day after.
Still, Gonzaga will have to figure out how to manage this without cloning herself into two. Both Cignal and PacificTown-Army will have a match on Saturday to cap her grueling week off. But for Gonzaga, since both teams have her back, she is ready to unleash what she is capable of.
“Pinaninndigan ko na lang pagiging Bionic Ilongga ko.
“Thankful din ako sa coaching staff na sobrang iniintindi nila yung case. Hindi nila ako masyadong binu-burn out during training, hindi naman ako masyado binubugbog, may time ako mag-rest,” she furthered.
“Kung magpapaalam naman ako for recovery, pinapayagan naman nila ako. It’s a matter of teamwork din sa amin sa Cignal and sa Army,” the former PSL MVP closed.
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