SKIPPER Michele Gumabao played down her role in helping Pocari Sweat overcome crowd-favorite Bureau of Customs in Game One of the Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference Finals at the PhilSports Arena on Satruday.
The Open Conference titlist showed poise and composure in breezing past a feisty Customs challenge, 25-22, 25-18, 25-18, to move a win away from another V-League crown this year. But Gumabao insisted the team’s championship experience, or even her own from being a three-time UAAP champ, had little to do about their easy win in the best-of-three title series opener.
“Pag may championship experience ka kasi, hindi ka naman automatically sanay sa championship, syempre nandyan pa rin ang pressure,” said Gumabao, who faced another champion in Customs star and crowd darling Alyssa Valdez.
But wiith mostly Customs fans filling the PhilSports Arena, Gumabao admitted that their long experience of playing together proved helpful in battling through pressure-packed situations throughout the match.
“Alam naman natin lahat kalaban namin ‘yung crowd, talagang ‘yung crowd siguro three fourths Bureau of Customs talaga. So kami sa side namin, kailangan lang talaga kung ano ang ine-ensayo namin mapakita namin sa game,” said Gumabao.
“And ‘yung championship experience each conference naman iba-iba ‘yan eh so kailangan this conference, ang focus lang namin manalo each set, makuha each point and eventually mananalo talaga kami sa game,” she added.
As team captain, Gumabao also shared that her task was to keep her teammates focused especially when BoC took the lead every set. She’s glad her team responded and managed to claw back to come away with the sweep.
“Kahit naman kasi captain ball ka, hindi ikaw necessarily gagawa ng lahat. Kahit ako taga-salita lang talaga ako sa loob ng court, so sila kung kaya mo sila i-encourage, i-encourage mo sila,” she said. “Kasi ano eh hindi ka talaga pwede tumahimik lalo na sa crowd na ganito, hindi naman namin lagi naririnig si coach kasi malayo siya so kailangan sa loob ng court (maging vocal).”
“And ‘yung mga teammates ko naman kasi, wala naman sa kanila tahimik and madali lang para sa akin maging vocal sa loob kasi kilala namin ang bawat isa,” she added.