Relishing her return, Gonzaga refuses to pressure herself in regaining old form

She’s back.

After more than a year of layoff from volleyball, Jovelyn Gonzaga officially made her comeback as she helped PacificTown Army during its four-set, opening game victory over BaliPure in the Premiere Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference 2019.

More than the win, Gonzaga is very much happy that her return to the taraflex has been injury-less and incident-free.

“Sobrang happy ako kasi natapos ko ang laro nang… natapos ko ang laro nang walang masamang nangyari. Natapos ko ang laro. So far, ang gusto kong igalaw sa court nagawa ko and natapos ko ang laro na panalo,” she said.

This, after the Ilongga spiker took 16 months off to heal from an ACL injury she sustained when she was still playing for Cignal in the rival league back in December 2017.

Similar to players who suffered from torn ACL, her movements looked tentative while her built has noticeably changed.

The 5-foot-9 hitter managed six kills and two blocks for eight markers laced with six excellent receptions – an output that would have been unusual for a healthy, pre-injury Gonzaga.

But while this was the case, Gonzaga does not want to pressure herself as she prefers the slow process of regaining her old, lethal form.

“Ang dami ko pang dapat ipa-polish. Ang dami ko pang dapat pang i-improve talaga. So ayoko din namang i-pressure ang sarili ko. One game at a time and sa training naman tinututukan ako ng coaching staff. So ang purpose ko talaga, ang role ko every game maka-contribute sa team,” she said.

For her, recovery is more of a mental battle than physical one as she refuses to think about the injury. Rather, she likes to focus on the game and play as if the injury didn’t happen.

“‘Wag mong isipin. Actually, tinanong ako kanina kung ano daw physical level ko. Kung ready na ba or what. Sabi ko 10 kasi ayoko talagang isipin na galing akong injury. Like for example gusto ni PT na i-tape o magpa-support ako ng knee pero ayoko kasi nga ayokong isipin na galing akong injury. Gusto ko na ‘pag naglaro ako diyan, ‘pag umapak ako sa court, ‘yun ‘yung dating ako na normal ‘yung feeling ko,” she said.

Gonzaga’s return also marked the return of veteran-laden Army in the league.

Asked about her team’s edge, Gonzaga said they will lean on their experience as their younger counterparts are more physically conditioned.

“Sabi ko nga sa interview, gulang-gulang na lang since nga parang kung sa likis, kung sa lakas, iba na ‘yung generations ngaypn e. ‘Yung batch ngayon e kasi parang iba ‘yung kondisyon nila compare sa amin. So ayoko namang i-emphasize na dahil sa age or whatever pero hangga’t maaari kasi daananin na lang sa gulang-gulang kasi parang hindi pa naming ano makipagsabayan sa kanila,” she said.

Recognizing the tough competitions ahead, Gonzaga said fans can expect a good fight from the multi-titled squad.

“We will give a good fight. One game at a time, kailangan naming mapanalo ‘yun. We promise our fans na we will give a good fight,” she closed.

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