Michele Gumabao looks to put intimidation skills to good use against young UST team
Michele Gumabao is wary of UST's hitters and solid chemistry but looks to test the young Tigresses' mental toughness. Freddie Dionisio

POCARI Sweat skipper Michele Gumabao looks forward to put on her swag queen persona and intimidate a young University of Santo Tomas team when they face each other in the Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday.

The Lady Warriors and Tigresses are currently tied at the top spot with identical 5-1 win-loss cards and their final elims game will formalize their placing in the semifinals.

But for Gumabao, who was known for her on-court swag way back in La Salle, a collegiate team like UST can appear unafraid but could still be easily intimidated and threatened.

“Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila (teammates ko) na they’re (UST) a young team and young teams although hindi bumibigay, for me, mas madaling kalabanin,” she said.

“Dahil mas maaga silang nawawala sa focus kapag naangasan mo, kapag napuntusan mo, kapag na-block mo, hindi sila gaya ng veteran team na babalik at babalik,” she added.

Gumabao added that the Lady Warriors will put on a strong front to distract the Tigresses.  

“Syempre kailangan intense (ang game). Kailangan kapag nakaka-block ka, ipakita mo na pinaghirapan mo ‘yun. Kapag nakapuntos ka, hindi mo ipapakita na tsamba lang. So lahat naman kami sa loob ng court intense,” she said.

“Lahat naman kami may fire, lahat kami passionate maglaro and ‘yun ang lalabas sa laro,” she added. “Alam ko ang UST malalakas ang hitters nila, pero ‘yung blocking namin doon kami magtatapat-tapat.”

UST, which just came from a title run in the annual Unigames in Dumaguete City, will bank on power hitters EJ Laure, Sisi Rondina and Carla Sandoval, tall middle blockers Ria Meneses and Chloe Cortez and comebacking skipper Pam Lastimosa.

Meanwhile, Pocari Sweat is on a five-game winning streak behind American imports Bre Mackie and Andrea Kacsits and locals Myla Pablo, Elainse Kasilag and Gumabao.

“So UST they have strong hitters, they have their weaknesses, so pag-aaralan namin, pagpa-practicean namin and paghahandaan namin come Wednesday,” said Gumabao.

“They’re a college team, alam natin na mas jell sila pero nandoon ang kumpyansa namin sa bawat isa and maganda ang naging momentum namin coming into the game on Wednesday kaya doon kami kukuha ng lakas,” she added. 

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