Michele Gumabao leads Creamline’s ‘ready, confident’ second six in PVL final
MANILA, Philippines — Michele Gumabao and Creamline’s second unit proved their worth after putting a gallant stand in their five-set loss to KingWhale Taipei in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference.
The Cool Smashers, who rested Jema Galanza and Jeanette Panaga while Alyssa Valdez suffered an ankle sprain, drew a strong showing from Gumabao and their bench players to push the Taipei team to its limits before absorbing a 15-25, 25-17, 22-25, 26-24, 5-15 defeat on Friday.
Gumabao, who played her best game of the season so far with 11 points, said coach Sherwin Meneses really gave everyone a chance to play since they already clinched a final berth.
But the former La Salle star vows that Creamline will parade a full-force roster and display its championship poise against KingWhale in a gold medal match on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“We were incomplete because we had also a couple of players who weren’t able to practice this week coming off a bit of setback physically. But we’re really confident against them,” said Gumabao in Filipino. “Hopefully, our first six will be in their best shape and ready to play.”
The 29-year-old opposite spiker is confident that Valdez will play after she assured the team that she is okay despite the awkward fall.
But when the Creamline starters need help in the final game, Gumabao said they are ready after showing what she and the second stringers are capable of.
“As we can see, when coach gave an opportunity to us, second six, we showed that we can play at a high level. This coming Sunday, whoever will be given playing time, everybody is ready and confident,” she said.
Gumabao and Rose Vargas led Creamline’s bench, putting on the finishing touches in the fourth set to force a decider before they lost steam in the fifth set.
The volleyball player-turned-beauty queen credited their readiness to their scrimmages against the Creamline starters every practice.
“We always go up against Creamline’s first six. They are really strong. So it prepared us for this kind of game,” Gumabao said.
“At least we’re gonna end happily even it was a five-set loss. That’s the most important thing. It was a memorable game for this season,” she added.
Ahead of their final game on Sunday, Gumabao warns her teammates of KingWhale’s Brazilian player Beatriz Carvalho, who poured 24 points in their first meeting.
“We really have to read their import. She was our biggest struggle. We need to check (her attacks). We have to fix our defense pattern,” she said. “They’re very disciplined. They are good at defending and they can limit their errors. That’s what we need to learn from them.”