During the off-season, Jovelyn Gonzaga had a dilemma. A long overdue mandatory training with the Philippine Army was waiting for her that would have sidelined her for at least one year. But it would have halted her volleyball career.
“Sobra akong na-stress before ng liga na ‘to. Kailangan kong i-weigh mga bagay bagay. Hindi ko lang kailangan i-consider yung isa kasi family ko ‘to, passion ko ‘to,” Gonzaga reflected.
After months and months of deep pondering, the 25-year-old ultimately asked for an honorable dismissal from the Army, signing with the rebuilding Cignal HD Spikers together with Rachel Daquis and Royse Tubino.
Their journey with a rebuilding team was challenging, to say the least. The team’s new acquisitions needed to become familiar with one another in just a few weeks time as they prepared for the 2017 Invitational Cup. Moreover, they needed to get rid of the losing culture that has plagued the franchise since 2014.
But in the end, they were able to overcome — eventually winning the tournament with a 2-1 record in the Final Round.
“Key was our teamwork. Kasi nakita niyo naman na everyone of us stepped up sa game against Foton and sobrang nakakatuwa kasi yung pinaghirapan namin nakita namin sa game against Foton,” the native of Ilo-ilo added.
“Yung goal namin na kung paano namin tatapusin yung tournament nagawa namin so ang saya and fulfilled.”
And besides the championship, Gonzaga was named as the tournament’s MVP, her second in the pro league. It was an unexpected one for the National Team pool member.
“‘Di ko inexpect kasi sobrang after lang ako sa manalo since nga alam naman natin na Cignal, for the past few years, hindi sila nagkakaroon ng place so mas nag-focus kami sa ipa-champion natin ‘to more than the individual awards.
“Itong back-to-back MVPs bigay na lang ito ni God and sukli na rin ito ng mga pinaghirapan ko sa team. Sobrang thankful ako sa lahat ng naniwala and kay God. Okay na ako kanina eh. Sobrang di ko in-expect kasi nakita naman natin yung nilaro ng team,” the 5-foot-8 opposite spiker furthered.
And for her, she has no regrets about the decision she made.
“Thankful talaga kasi nag-meet halfway and talagang kay papa God talaga ‘to lahat,” the now-two time MVP admitted.
“Almost na aalis na ako but talagang di ko ma-explain and dumating ako sa point nag-meet halfway.”