MICHELE Gumabao is set to make her debut with AirAsia in the 2014 PLDT Home-Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference as the Flying Spikers battle the Petron Blaze Spikers on Saturday at the University of San Carlos Gym in Cebu.
The star of the PCSO squad in Super Liga’s inaugural tournament last year makes her volleyball comeback just as the league holds its very first provincial event.
Without Gumabao, who is also dabbling in showbiz and only recently made her exit from a reality television program, the Flying Spikers have recorded three wins in five outings
League-leading Petron Blaze, bannered by former UAAP star Dindin Santiago of National University, has a 3-2 card.
The AirAsia-Petron match is set at 4 p.m.
“Although she (Gumabao) already had two practice sessions with us, she's not yet in her hundred percent,” said coach Ramil de Jesus.
“She won't start the game, but I plan to field her just to give her a feel on big-time competition again. I know she will regain her form very soon. And I hope this Cebu game will be the start.”
PSL and Score President Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara, a former national youth player himself, said more provincial games are being worked out after the Cebu leg dubbed "Spike on Tour! - the Out-of-town series."
“We are bringing topnotch volleyball action closer to the masses. And Cebu was a hands down choice for our very first provincial game because there are lots of volleyball talents waiting to be tapped from here,” said Suzara.
“AirAsia also waited for an opportune time for Michelle to rejoin her La Salle teammates since she had a lot of commitments in her show business career before we started. Now that she’s back, AirAsia is complete team already,” he added.
Actor-sportsman Richard Gomez tries to help Systema move up the standings as it battles Cignal, a squad powered by Cebuano spikers Mike Abria, Emmanuel Luces, Kenboy Abunda and Joel Villonson in the 2 p.m. match.
Systema and Cignal are tied for second at 3-2 in the league backed by AirAsia together with Gilligan's Restaurants , Healthway Medical , PLDT Home DSL, Cignal, Solar Sports, Mikasa, Asics, Mueller, Bench, LGR, Petron and Generika.
Players and coaches of all four teams will grace a press conference at the Ramos branch of Casa Verde restaurant at 12 p.m. on Friday followed by a three-hour interactive volleyball clinic for Gawad Kalinga Cebu children aged 8 to 16 years old at 2 p.m. at the USC gym.
On match day, Southwestern University and University of Cebu dancers will perform during intermission courtesy of SWU Athletic Director Ryan Aznar and UC Athletic Director Bernardino Ricablanca through the efforts of Mrs. Dolly Suzara of Sinulog Foundation.
Tickets are still available at the USC athletic department's office for 100 pesos for the bleachers and 200 pesos at ringside.