Michele Gumabao says falling-out with management - not jealousy - led to Pocari Sweat exit
Michele Gumabao is now entertaining offers from other teams after confirming her departure from V-League champion Pocari Sweat. Jerome Ascano

MICHELE Gumabao confirmed her departure from Pocari Sweat on Wednesday, saying misunderstandings with management prompted her to part with the club just after a successful campaign in the Shakey’s V-League.

“It's final na talaga. I will leave Pocari and join another team,” Gumabao told a handful of reporters, adding his contract ended last December 31 and she had given herself until January 7 to come to terms with Pocari Sweat on a new deal.

The former Lady Warriors captain, who played a vital role in the team’s success in the V-League Open and Reinforced Conferences, did not bother to sugarcoat the issues between her and the Pocari Sweat team manager that led to the falling-out.

“So nagka-problem ako with our team manager and we talked it out and hindi namin na solusyunan. Umakyat ako sa mga boss, akala ko nasolusyunan and in the end their promises meant nothing for me so I had to leave,” she added.

[See Gumabao leaving Pocari Sweat?]

The former La Salle captain pointed out that ever since she started with Philips Gold - the forerunner of Pocari Sweat - in the Philippine Super Liga in 2015, management had been transparent in saying that the team could not put up the same budget as the other teams.

Gumabao said she was fine with the arrangement, but added problems including personal issues with other players soon piled up.

“Naging strong kami, naging maganda ang bond namin and there came to a point na lahat ng problema na minsan kahit gaano ka pa kalakas, kahit gaano mo pa kagusto magpaka-martyr hindi mo na talaga kakayanin,” she said.

“And 'yun ang nangyari sa akin just recently, hindi ko na kaya ang issues sa loob ng team with our manager hindi ko na talaga kaya intindihin paulit-ulit ang mali,” she added.

“Ako, personally, ayaw kong pinagsasalitaan ng masama ang teammates ko na hindi naman kailangan, ayaw ko na right before ng game may inaaway kang player. Alam mo ‘yun, we have to focus on our game,” she continued.

Some netizens speculated that Gumabao left because she became jealous of teammate Myla Pablo’s multi-million, five-year contract extension that included a signing bonus of a brand-new car.

The opposite hitter was quick to deny the claim.

“Ako naman just to set things straight, I never asked for a car so hindi ako magagalit kung hindi nabigay sa akin. I didn’t ask for a house so I won’t be mad if hindi nabigay sa akin,” she said.

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“I’m happy for Myla,” added Gumabao. “She worked hard for whatever she signed for. I love her as a teammate, as a friend and as a sister so hindi ako magseselos kung binigay sa kanya ‘yun.

"Even before Myla signed a contract, nagkakaproblema na kami (ng management).”

Gumabao said she is simply moving on.

“I'd be happy to leave, never ko namang pagsisiksikan ang sarili ko sa isang lugar na ayaw na sa akin so ako, I'm looking for a new team,” she said. “I'm entertaining new offers, I mean something that I denied myself for one year.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada