Despite Alyssa Valdez’s absence, Creamline committed to make most out of AVC stint
MANILA, Philippines — Missing Alyssa Valdez in Creamline’s first international tournament is a huge blow, but Michele Gumabao sees it as an opportunity for the other Cool Smashers to step up for the Philippines in the AVC Cup for Women starting on Sunday at PhilSports Arena.
Gumabao admitted Valdez’s absence left a huge void on the team since she is the team captain, one of Creamline’s main scorers, and the player with the most international experience as she represented the country since 2015.
“It’s more of a mental adjustment. We weren’t expecting to enter this high-level of competition with a depleted line-up since we won’t have Alyssa, who is our captain. That’s a big adjustment for us mentally,” said the veteran opposite spiker in Filipino after Valdez was ruled out of the tournament due to dengue.
“But we all agreed to join here. Everyone is committed. So we will make the most out of it. We will really try to represent our country well. This is a big opportunity for the Creamline Cool Smashers and also for the Philippines to play in the AVC.”
The former La Salle star said their dengue-stricken skipper still took time to motivate and support the team even though she can no longer play with them against the best Asian teams.
“Alyssa never failed to give us motivation and her job as a captain will always be there whether she’s on or off the court,” Gumabao said.
The 5-foot-10 spiker stressed that it’s time for the others to step up as they kick off their Pool A campaign against Vietnam, a match which Jia De Guzman and head coach Sherwin Meneses may sit out.
“This is a chance for the (other members of the) team to step up. Our management is really supportive. They said: We’re a young team. This is new to us so the pressure is there. But you know, we’re also here to learn and have fun. We will bring the good vibes of the Creamline Cool Smashers in this international competition,” said Gumabao.
Gumabao, who provided the spark off Creamline’s bench to win the PVL Invitational championship, is expected to embrace a bigger role with two-time MVP Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza, Ced Domingo, Jeanette Panaga, and Kyla Atienza.
Rizza Mandapat and Lorie Bernardo, who weren’t initially part of the AVC roster, replaced Valdez and Sato. Meanwhile, back-up playmaker Kyle Negrito, who played in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, will be fielded as a starter if De Guzman won’t be able to play.
“We will really do our best and we already made adjustments. It’s really a matter of working inside the court. it’s gonna be a new line-up that you have never seen in a PVL conference. So I hope we and the Filipino fans will enjoy this tournament,” Gumabao said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.