MANILA, Philippines—Michele Gumabao dedicated Creamline’s first win to injured teammate Alyssa Valdez, who was sidelined on the opening day of the 2023 All-Philippines Premier League Volleyball Championship at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With Valdez still recovering from a right knee injury she suffered last December during the Strengthening Conference, Gumabao stepped up to fill the void and take the lead. Creamline’s 25-18, 25-20, 25-22 victory against rival Petro Gazz on Saturday.
Gumabao brought home 13 points based on 11 strikes, one block and one trump card, and teamed up with Celine Domingo to end the third set to take his first win without a three-time MVP.
“We dedicate this win to Ly because she can’t come back yet. We also don’t want to stress her out and rush back,” Gumabao said in Filipino.
The opposition’s veteran scorer praised the Cool Smashers’ versatility as anyone on the team can play multiple positions, such as Tots Carlos, who delivers as a side attacking player. outside.
“As the coach said, in volleyball you have to learn and try different positions. We have a lot of players and the reason we don’t make any changes in our squad is because the coaches trust all the players,” said Gumabao. “The support of the second six is there. Whoever gets the room will deliver. That’s why our coaches are giving us a chance to play.”
The former La Salle star said that facing Open Conference finalist and Reinforced Conference champion Petro Gazz was a good test for their team to kick-start their quest to maintain the title.
“I think our first match was a blessing and we trained well to be able to win by a tight margin. [last two sets]. Because our previous mistakes were in the last points of the last set. Sometimes we have a tendency to relax and our coach constantly reminds us to keep playing, not to stop,” said Gumabao.
“In our first game, at least we built our confidence,” she added.
As Valdez continues to miss games, Gumabao looks to maintain Creamline’s momentum as Cool Smashers take on Cignal on Thursday at the FilOil EcoOil Center.
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