"JOVELYN Gonzaga was stretchered off court after hurting knee," read a headline on November 21, 2017.
The Cignal star, who fell on the floor in pain, held on to her right knee during a match against F2 Logistics in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix. She was rushed to Cardinal Santos Medical Center, the nearest hospital to the venue, The Arena in San Juan.
According to her, she heard a pop that, she thought to herself, would end her career.
A month later, doctors ruled out Gonzaga for the remainder of the conference due to an ACL injury.
“Actually noong una akong bumagsak ang nasa utak ko end of my career,” she told SPIN Life recently. “Paano na ‘yung pamilyang sinusuportahan ko?”
“Ang daming nagsasabi sa akin [na ‘kaya mo makabalik’], ang daming nag-a-advice sa akin pero ang naririnig ko lang ‘yung iyak ko at ang pauliut-ulit na nangyari na nag-pop sa tuhod ko,” she added.
While she was recuperating, Gonzaga hardly paid to attention to the game.
Instead, she used the time away from the game to focus on her recovery and later attended military schooling. She’s now a corporal at the Philippine Army.
Nearly two years later, the former member of the national team made her resounding comeback — and by that we mean playing for Pacific Town Army in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference and PSL All-Filipino Conference.
The pride of Jordan, Guimaras played a vital role in leading her teams to podium finishes in both leagues. She led the Lady Troopers to a bronze medal finish in the PVL Reinforced Conference and helped the HD Spikers bag a silver medal in the PSL All-Filipino Conference.
Everybody saw how she picked herself up from where she left off, but the struggles and doubts still lingered on her mind.
“Na-down ako, actually dumating ako sa point na nag-doubt na ako na totoo ngang makakabalik ako pero hindi ko masasabi ang laro ko [kung pareho pa rin],” she said.
“Sa early stage ng PSL, nangangapa pa ako, sabi ko [sa sarili ko], sige tatanggapin ko ‘to na ganito na lang talaga pero next year babalik ako nang buo. Hindi ko akalain na hindi pa tapos ang conference nakabalik na ako,” she added.
Looking back, Gonzaga could only smile as she was reminded of her self doubts which almost got the better of her.
With a bronze medal and a silver medal now under her belt, she's finally convinced that she's indeed back.
“Minsan sa gabi napapaisip ako, hindi ko ma-explain pero sobra akong thankful kay Lord na kakabalik ko lang nakapag-podium finish ako,” she said. “Ang nararamdaman ko ngayon sobrang grateful ng heart ko, ‘yun lang talaga.”