National team mainstay Alyssa Valdez didn’t hide her excitement as opposite spiker Jovelyn Gonzaga marks her return with the Philippine national women’s volleyball team.
Last playing with each other in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, Valdez and Gonzaga are set to be teammates anew in this year’s edition of the biennial regional tournament.
The Creamline team captain expressed her delight to see Gonzaga donning the national team colors anew, lauding the latter for her inspiring comeback this year.
“Ang masasabi ko lang, puso at determinasyon ang [kanyang] puhunan. Isa siyang inspirasyon,” Valdez said in a post-game interview last week.
After missing out on the sport for two years due to an ACL injury, the 5-foot-7 lefty has returned to the court this year in the best way possible, playing for two different teams in two different leagues with remarkable finishes.
Gonzaga brought the Pacifictown Army Lady Troopers, who returned to the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) after two years of absence, to a bronze medal finish in the Reinforced Conference.
Meanwhile, she also led the Cignal HD Spikers to a bridesmaid finish in the Philippine Superliga, standing behind eventual champions F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.
Valdez, one of the national team’s top scorers for its past tournaments, said Gonzaga will be a needed boost not only for her scoring prowess but also the leadership she provides in the court.
“She’ll help the team not only sa pagpuntos but also the leadership. We need that, lalong-lalo na’t tayo ang magho-host at kailangan nating lumaban sa SEA Games,” the open spiker said.
Ten of the 16-strong national team members, including mainstays Aby Marano, Mylene Paat, and Dawn Macandili, are already in Thailand for a training camp as part of their preparation in the upcoming 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix.
Valdez, Gonzaga, and other PVL players including Creamline’s Jia Morado, Choco Mucho’s Maddie Madayag, and University of Santo Tomas’ Eya Laure are set to join the team on Sunday, September 15.