#BFFgoals: Ex-DLSU and Pocari teammates Michele Gumabao and Melissa Gohing
They have a lot of similarities starting with their “MG” initials and their taste in athletic, smart men. How else are they the same? The two volleyball champs spill the beans here! (Photos by Vyn Radovan)
On lunchtime on a weekday, we spot Philippine volleyball poster girls Michele Gumabao and Melissa Gohing wrapping up with their workout. The two ladies clad in workout gear are looking rather fit, which was no surprise as they are both athletes who don’t go a day without getting down and dirty. Gohing, for example, also a blogger and influencer, takes to Instagram her fitspo-worthy workout regimen. Gumabao, who keeps busy from being a player and a coach at Adamson, jestingly credits her slimming down to her favorite Saladstop. In fact, after their workout, the two are actually off to grab a quick bite at the same restaurant and will next visit the derma for their own vanity sessions.
“See? We’re so alike!” Gohing says, even shocked herself about the similarity in their schedules.
The two, of course, have been best friends since their college days as part of the DLSU Lady Spikers. They became roommates inside the dorm, something they redid just recently when Gohing briefly lived at Gumabao’s residence.
Together, the two volleybelles ruled UAAP women’s volleyball from 2011 to 2013 with straight titles. They proved to be queens of Taft’s offense and defense, working their UAAP tricks again once they stepped on to the V-League court. Proof: Pocari’s back-to-back V-League conference titles. Gumabao may have recently left Pocari to captain United VC in the PSL, but her friendship with Gohing still seems to stand strong. How did their bond start and how do they maintain it without boys getting in the way? We catch the two MGs in their cool-down for some revelation!
How did being dormmates help get you close?
Gohing: Lalo kaming naging close noong naging bedmates kami sa dorm. Naging magkatabi kami tapos marami kaming late night talks.
Gumabao: Doon kami naging close. Tapos doon namin nalaman na ang dami naming similarities amd interests na magkakapareho, so mahirap naman kasi talagang makahanap ng kapareho mo sa halos lahat. Kami ni Mel kasi, partners kami when it comes sa kaartehan and volleyball and sports, so kahit saan kami doon din naman kami nag-e-enjoy kahit spa day yan o kahit gym day yan, kahit hiking yan
Gohing: ‘Yong tipong minsan parang hindi kami nag-usap pero parehas kami ng plano, like today or minsan pareho kami ng suot. Minsan may mga moments na ganoon.
If you find many things in each other similar, how different is one from the other?
Gumabao: Taste namin sa lalaki. Ha ha! So, that’s good. Ako, since I’m taller, kailangan mas matangkad sa akin. So iba naman ‘yong mas matangka sa akin sa mas matangkad na version ni Mel sa kanya. Siguro in taste in guys, we both like athletic men, smart guys.
Gohing: Ako, artistic guys.
Gumabao: Oo. Sya kasi medyo artsy, eh! So, hindi ko na-aappreciate ‘yong mysterious and quiet guys. Gusto ko ‘yong maingay na kayang maki-ride sa akin. Si Mel kasi may moments siya na artsy artsy-fartsy sya.
Gohing: Minsan kasi I like creative na mysterious guys. May pagka-artsy din ako like sa mga photography and shiz. So, ayon! Ha ha!
Gumabao: Basta musician, si Mel ang mahilig doon!
Gohing: Kailangan fit din. ‘Yong same lang din. Una, mas batak sa aming dalawa. Second, dapat mas competitive sa amin. Kasi kapag hindi competitive sobrang turn off sa aming dalawa! Ha ha!
Gumabao: Kailangan strong ang personality pero features, magkaiba talaga kami ng type.
So, that’s ‘good’ because?
Gumabao: Never kami nag-she-share. Never kami nag-agawan. Ang pangit palang pakinggan ng ‘‘nag-she-share!” Ha ha!
You seem very close. But how did you bond with the rest of the team before?
Gumabao: Iba kasi ang course niya, iba rin ang course ko. And she’s one batch higher than me. So, iba ang subjects, iba lahat. So sa academics, medyo iba talaga kami. But we both excel!
Gohing: Career mode din kasi kami sa academics. Kami naman ‘yung tumutulong sa mga bata kung may kailangan sila.
How was it playing together again as a team in Pocari? And V-League champions at that?
Gohing: It’s great. Iba talaga ‘yong connection. Iba ‘yong morale na binibigay naming sa isa’t-isa while inside the game. We know each other and we both have the same goal talaga so it helps din.
Gumabao: Kasi ang hirap sa volleyball, it’s a whole different world. Inside the volleyball court, there is one line in between, ‘yong attack line, ‘di ba? Ibang world ‘yong front line and back line. It’s like, kami sa spikers sa harapan, iba sa defense players sa likod. So, kami ni Mel siguro as players or as teammates, lagi kaming nag-wo-work or nag-ki-click kasi nga we both have the same goal and ‘yung communication namin, nandoon lagi. So, kung ano ‘yong goal ng front line, yon din ang goal ng back line. Kunwari walang depensa, kaya kong sabihin kay Mel na, ‘Hoy, ano ba naman ayusin ninyo ‘yong depensa ninyo sa likod.’ And sya na ang bahala doon. So, hindi ko na sila kailangang problemahin and kapag kami wala din namang laro sa harapan, Mel can come to me and say, ‘Dumedepensa kami, kailangan ninyong mag-adjust.’
Gohing: Physically, kami ‘yong nakakakita sa back kung nasaan ang bola, ‘Okey targetin nyo ‘to, target-in ninyo si ano.’ Tapos siya ‘yung magi-instruct doon sa front.
Gumabao: Kami ang nagke-carry out in our areas kaya siguro ‘yong team naming in-sync din.
How do you feel when you won another trophies again?
Gumabao: It’s first time, no? The one with Pocari? Back-to-back. Pero I mean our first time outside La Salle for both of us! Masaya syempre because champion. Pero iba talaga ang feeling ng UAAP.
What do you miss most about the UAAP?
Gumabao: Hindi mo talaga mapapantayan ‘yong championship of pride. Kasi ‘yong school pride, iba eh. I mean, palipat-lipat din kami ng team. So, ang dami na naming naging team. A’yon ang mahirap, ‘yung developing pride in the team that you’re playing in kaya I belive in long-term contracts kasi kailangan i-build mo rin talaga ‘yong pride ng players.
Gohing: Saka mas emotional kasi kapag UAAP kasi ang tagal na naming magkakasama. After championship, you see everybody is happy. Iba talaga ‘yong root ng happiness. Amy hugot talaga noong college. Eg maatagal din kami sa Pocari.
Gumabao: Kaya iba rin ‘yong feeling noong nag-champion!
Mel, what did you feel when Michele left recently?
Gohing: Sad, of course. Para kaming sisters talaga and inseparable pero parang it’s a good thing na rin. Parang think positive kasi we will grow individually para in the future kapag nagkasama kami, we will be stronger individually.
Gumabao: At least, parang siguro for me, kapag kasama ko si Mel kasi parang, ‘Mel, cover mo ko’, pero ngayon parang hindi ako sanay sa liberos namin kasi kakikilala ko lang sa kanila. I have to step up, di ba? So, I’m growing also as a person. And siguro si Mel, for her, sanay siya na ako ‘yong maingay, sanay siya na ako ‘yung vocal, sa ngayon, sya naman. At least naman, we both grow. So, kapag nakikita kami ulit, bongga na kami.
Do you still go back to La Salle?
Gohing: Last time we visited, three or four months ago pa.
Gumabao: We try naman to make it a point to visit pero morning kasi training nila, eh.
Gohing: Tapos I watched kaso may game sya. Pero kung wala siyang game, I’m sure manunuod ‘yan. So, we greet him every time we see him. Nakikita ko naman si Coach Ramil kasi nakakalaban namin siya sa UAAP! Ha ha!
In other words, supportive pa rin kayo sa La Salle?
Gumabao: Even in Adamson, I always tell people nga na my pride will always be with La Salle kasi I graduated from there. Nandoon talaga ‘yung hugot ko but as of now, I’m coaching with Adamson and syempre I want them to win also, I want them to win a championship and if ever next year, I coach for what, FEU? Doon naman din ‘yong loyalty ko pero ‘yong pride and ‘yong hugot iba talaga. Syempre, it will always be with La Salle. Doon naman talaga ‘yonbut the loyalty dapat professional lang.
Gohing: Actually, nagsu-support din ako sa Adamson. Nanood ako one time. Kung saan sya, support support lang. Syempre, we have our own teams na pero syempre, we will forever be a Lady Spiker. Michelle and I kahit saan kami magpunta, kilala pa rin kami because of La Salle. Ang daming memories talaga. Five years, four years, ang daming memories na you would look back.
What’s your best UAAP memory together?
Gohing: Kunwari kapag nag-fe-fail ako, sasabihin sa akin ni Michelle. Pero no hard feelings.
Gumabao: Hindi kasi kami nagtatanim ng sama ng loob. So, kahit sigawan ko sya, kahit during the game minsan nagaglit ako sa kanya kasi si Mel talaga minsan may times na sobrang sabaw siya. Ha ha! I mean, ako din naman may times an sobrang sabaw din ako, siya kapag kunwari sa game, sasabihin ko sa kanya, ‘Ayaw mo na bang maglaro? Sabihin ko kay Coach, palitan ka na!’ Ginaganon ko talaga sya. Pero it’s normal with us kasi kilala naming ang isa’t-isa. We always want what’s best for each other. At saka kaya kong sabihin sa kanya na, ‘Ayoko ‘yung lalaking kasama mo o ayoko ‘yung suot mo o ano ba yang suot mo,’ hindi kasi kami… you know some people, alam mo naman ‘yung may hidden agenda or I won’t correct her because gusto ko syang pahiyain or I want her to feel bad. I’ll correct her kasi it’s the right thing to do and I love her. Alam naming ‘yun sa isa’t-isa kaya siguro hindi kami nag-aaway nag sobra na hindi kami nag-uusap after non.
Gohing: Kasi sobrang okay na may friend kang ganoon. Compared to college, you have your barkada pero iba pa rin ‘yung may friend ka na ganyan.
Gumabao: Recently, she lived with me. So, sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Mel, you can’t live here forever. You have to get your life set. Paano kapag nagka-boyfriend ka na? Paano kapag may gusto ka nang gawin sa buhay? You have to be independent.’ Ito kasi sobrang clingy, eh! Ha ha! Joke lang. I mean, ganoon. Clingy naman kasi talaga kami sa isa’t-isa pero si Mel kasi I understand kasi wala ‘yong family niya dito. So, she found another family in my family. Pero sabi ko sa kanya, ‘You have to be independent’ kasi iba na ‘yong life namin ngayon, eh. We have to be strong women. Sinabi ko na sa kanya na we have to be strong, independent women because ‘yun ang panghahawakan natin in our careers, whatever paths we’re gonna take. So, at least now, she’s living by herself na. She’s getting settled in two weeks na, almost.
Now that you’re living separately, how often do you still get together?
Gohing: Recently kasi busy sya tapos busy din ako. Ito, we meet here and then we plan to have lunch or dinner.
Gumabao: There are always plans naman pero ‘yong pag-execute lang. Ako naman, aminado ako, ‘yong schedule ko medyo malala talaga because it’s UAAP season!
Gohing: Minsan naman I watch Adamson’s game tapos after non, we’ll bond.
Gumabao: Iyon ang mahirap sa akin ngayon, parang everything is taking a back parang relationships, friendships, family…
Gohing: But we text each other.
Gumabao: Oo, ‘yong viber ko, punong-puno talaga mula kay Melissa!