Mon. Mar 27th, 2023

 Major Awardees Sisi Rondina and Jovelyn Gonzaga during the PSA Awards Night at Diamond Hotel on March 6. –CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Major Awardees Sisi Rondina and Jovelyn Gonzaga during the PSA Awards Night at Diamond Hotel on March 6. –CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Jovelyn Gonzaga continues to live her dream at sands court, but she is not closing her doors on returning to the Premier Volleyball League.

Gonzaga, who was a major awardee for Beach Volleyball along with partner Sisi Rondina during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards night, said representing the women’s beach volleyball team realized her dream to bring pride to the country.

“Alam niyo wala talagang imposible. Actually na-realize ko nung ako na lang ang mag-isa na after 10 years na-achieve ko yung dream ko. Kumbaga may iba na nakukuha yung luck, swerte in five years, 10 years, tomorrow, kinabukasan, yung iba it takes time,” said Gonzaga during the awards night, where she wore a Rajo Laurel gown.

(You know, nothing is impossible. I realized by myself that after 10 years I achieved my dream. Others got their luck in five years, 10 years, tomorrow, and others take time.)

“After 10 years, nakuha ko ang pinangarap ko before, na minanifest ko, na makapagbigay ng medalya sa Pilipinas. Sobrang akong overwhelmed, thankful, grateful sa lahat din ng tao along the way na tumulong at nag-guide sa akin,” she added.

(After 10 years, I realized the dream that I manifested before, to win a medal for the Philippines. I’m so overwhelmed. I’m thankful and grateful to all the people along the way who helped and guided me.)

Gonzaga, who played for the indoor women’s national team from 2015 until she decided to hang her jersey in 2021, won her first Southeast Asian Games bronze medal with her partner Dij Rodriguez and Team 1 Rondina and Bernadeth Pons in Vietnam last year.

The 31-year-old spiker teamed up with Rondina in the Fivb Beach Volleyball World Tour last December and ruled the Subic Bay Future, beating Rodriguez and Gen Eslapor in an All-Filipino final.

Gonzaga admitted she felt the pressure of teaming up with Rondina but the decorated beach volleyball player was patient and didn’t stop guiding her as they played like a match made in heaven in their first international tournament together.

“Honestly, I felt a lot of pressure because knowing Sisi’s level of competitiveness compared to me, who is already at this age. So I need to keep up with her energy,” said Gonzaga in Filipino. “I’m thankful to Sisi because we always talk and compromise. Every single day, I’m giving my best effort. Because I always tell her that she needs a lot of patience because I’m still in the adjustment stage.”

“So far we’re doing great but not yet consistent. So we have to make the most of our continuous training lang. We’re just trusting the process and we believe we will get there,” she added.

Gonzaga is eager to surpass their previous SEA Games finish as they continue to train in Laiya, Batangas, while the Philippine National Volleyball Federation is planning to send them to Rio for a training camp under Brazilian coach Joao Luciano Kiodai.

“Actually, we are getting a lot of new learnings from him and slowly we are able to apply it during our everyday training,” she said.

Gonzaga sacrificed her professional career in the PVL to focus on her training for the beach volleyball national team but she is not closing her door on returning indoor as Army remained winless in the All-Filipino Conference without her.

“My mindset this year is to give my full commitment to beach volleyball. But I don’t want to say anything final yet,” she said. “God’s plan is way better than my own plans. So whatever direction the Lord wants for me, I’ll take it. For now, [beach volleyball first] but I can’t tell what will be my next decision because I’ll follow God’s plan.”

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