AS Creamline misses its beauty queen-spiker Michele Gumabao for up to three weeks for the Miss Globe, Alyssa Valdez believes that the rest of the Cool Smashers are ready to step up against Adamson-Akari in their Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Valdez admitted that the Cool Smashers will miss Gumabao’s leadership, talent, and encouraging smile starting in their 6:30 p.m. match against the winless Lady Falcons.
“First, leadership rin talaga ni Michele one of the biggest factor, biggest key kung bakit maganda ‘yung chemistry ng team, fluidity, ‘yung galaw talaga ng team,” Valdez said.
“Second, siguro ‘yung blocking niya, threat talaga siya sa harap pag nasa loob siya alam natin matangkad, very efficient and siyempre ‘yung spiking niya. And definitely ‘yung smile niya, you know nakakalift din talaga ng morale yung presence niya inside the court.”
As the Cool Smashers try to fan their two-game winning streak and improve their 2-1 win-loss record without Gumabao, Valdez hopes for the best in her Miss Globe Philippines 2018 campaign, knowing that everyone else who coach Tai Bundit will field will step up big time.
“But we know naman na Michele will also give a good fight for our country so we will support her sa commitment niya na yun and we are praying for a win also for Michele,” she added. “Kung mawawala yung isang one hundred percent namin, we have to exert more effort or one hundred and ten percent siguro sa bawat isa para mas mapunan namin yung mawawala samin.”
Meanwhile, the unscathed BanKo Perlas Spikers (4-0), who are oozing with confidence from a bronze-medal finish in the Vinh Long Volleyball tournament in Vietnam and back-to-back wins over Adamson-Akari and Ateneo-Motolite, gun for their fifth straight win against Tacloban Fighting Warays (2-2) at 4 p.m.
Valdez also looks forward to facing the Adamson players who idolize her like Lipa, Batangas-native Chiara Permentilla and rookie Trisha Genesis, who wears jersey No.2 because of her.
“I’m very happy and I’m really willing to siyempre sana mashare ko rin talaga yung knowledge na meron ako sa volleyball para mas lumawak pa, mas lumaki pa at mas gumanda pa yung volleyball natin dito,” the four-time league Most Valuable Player said. “And siyempre dadating din sila, sila naman na ‘yung stars natin ngayon so we’re really hoping na mas gumanda pa ‘yung season nila lalong lalo na sa UAAP.”
“Wag muna nila kami talunin ngayon. kaya na nila yan sa UAAP,” she added with laughter. “We hope na madami silang matutunan sa amin talaga.”
Permentilla, for her part, is excited to face her idol for the first time.
“We’re so excited to play and compete against her because she’s been my inspiration to keep going and improving my skills in the sport. I’m looking forward to learn from her,” the sophomore spiker said.
Aside from Valdez the current Lady Falcons will face their former star Jema Galanza, Permentilla said that they will keep on trying to barge in win column after a 0-3 start by sticking to the system of Adamson coach Air Padda.
“We wanna compete as best as we can against them,” she added. “It’s gonna be a tough battle for us being the underdog and being undermanned but what’s important at the end of the day is that you gave your all. We’ll be mentally tough and stick to our system.”
Valdez insisted that she and her teammates led by former Lady Falcon Jema Galanza, Jia Morado and Risa Sato, should avoid being complacent against Permentilla, Genesis, Bern Flora, setter MJ Igao, and libero Thang Ponce as well as Adamson coach Air Padda’s other wards.
“Iba rin yung galaw ng mga bata they’re gonna go all-out,” the three-time UAAP MVP said. “Hopefully, mabigyan namin sila ng magandang laban and siyempre kami as veterans na. Sana expected also na maganda ipakita natin and hoping a good result.”