Jovelyn Gonzaga to skip PVL tilt to focus on SEA Games preps; Army has new coach
MANILA, Philippines — Jovelyn Gonzaga will skip the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All Filipino Conference as the Army Lady Troopers parade a new coach, Randy Fallorina.
Philippine National Volleyball Federation National Teams Commissions chairman Tonyboy Liao confirmed that the star opposite spiker will focus on the women’s beach volleyball squad’s build-up for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May.
“She’s preparing for the Cambodia SEA Games playing Beach Volleyball,” Liao told Inquirer Sports in a message.
Gonzaga is skipping the second straight season-opening tournament with Army. She also focused on her SEA Games campaign last year, resulting in a bronze medal finish with partner Dij Rodriguez and teammates Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The 31-year-old hitter, dubbed the Bionic Ilongga, teamed up with Rondina to rule the 2022 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Futures in Subic last December.
Gonzaga and Rondina as well as Rodriguez and Jen Eslapor will hold a training camp in Batangas before they fly to Japan to train from February to March at Toyota Center in Hekinan City in Aichi Prefecture.
Gonzaga struggled in the 2022 Reinforced Conference as she wasn’t part of the Top 50 scorers in the eliminations where the Lady Troopers went winless in eight games.
Without Gonzaga, Army will lean on Honey Royse Tubino and Jeanette Villareal, who led the way for their team in the previous tournament.
Liao also confirmed the reports that KungFu Reyes and his deputy Rico De Guzman are no longer calling the shots for Army.
Fallorina, who played for the Troopers in last year’s Spikers’ Turf, will try to lift Army’s women’s volleyball team from a winless Reinforced Conference stint.
The player-turned-coach will mentor the Lady Troopers, who didn’t have major roster changes in the offseason. Audrey Paran, Ivy Perez, Nene Bautista, Lut Malaluan, Angela Nunag, and Tin Agno are the team’s holdovers competing in the All Filipino starting on February 4.
Fallorina will also call the shots for Army in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf starting on Sunday.