What if Melissa Gohing wore blue instead of green for an Ateneo Magnificent 6?

Mark Escarlote on Mar 30, 2016 04:05 PM
What if Mel Gohing joined Ateneo for a 'Magnificent 6'
What if former De La Salle libero Melissa Gohing (left) played for Ateneo de Manila in the UAAP to create the Lady Eagles' 'Magnificent 6'? (Photo courtesy of @GOHINGMELISSA Twitter account)

Ateneo de Manila’s Fab Five before the Alyssa Valdez-era could be considered as one of the Lady Eagles' best attacking lineup.

But even with a bunch of ace hitters in ex-Queen Eagle Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio, Gretchen Ho, middle A Nacachi and heady playmaker Jem Ferrer, the Fab Five failed to deliver the crown so longed by the blue and white.

Just like the current two-time defending champion Lady Eagles’ dilemma – the Fab Five-era lacked a consistent defender to man the floor.          

What if we added an ace libero in that Ateneo Fab Five?

What if Ferrer continued to have her trusty libero back in their heydays in Hope Christian High School delivering a perfectly received first ball?

What if Melissa Gohing – the Season 71 Rookie of the Year – chose to wear blue instead of the green jersey of Ateneo’s bitter rival from Taft Avenue?  Would an Ateneo ‘Magnificent 6’ given the Katipunan-based squad its breakthrough title a year or two earlier?

Gohing together with Ferrer were supposed to continue their partnership in college playing for Ateneo. While the setter went on to become a Lady Eagle, Gohing chose to play for Ateneo’s rival De La Salle University and joined the Lady Spikers’ Manila Santos, Stephanie Mercado, Jacq Alarca and Cha Cruz.

If Gohing joined Ateneo, the Lady Eagles would have been a competitive team but would still have had a hard time vying for the title until around Season 75.

With Gohing playing for Ateneo, Stephanie Gabriel wouldn't have been converted to a libero, giving the Lady Eagles an extra firepower off the bench.

Still the ‘Magnificent 6’ winning a crown in Gohing’s first four years is improbable.

Ateneo will then have to contend with DLSU’s wrecking crew in Season 71, the Angeli Tabaquero, Maru Banaticla and Dindin Santiago-led University of Sto. Tomas in Season 72 before the latter transferred to National University and in the last years of Cruz, Alarca, Mercado and Gumabao in Season 73 and 74.

In the Final Four during that stretch, the Lady Eagles would have still had a difficult time if they faced the Adamson Lady Falcons, who during that time will still have Angela Benting, Pau Soriano, libero Lizlee Ann Gata, Mayette Zapanta and a young Bang Pineda.   

Season 75 could have been the pivotal year for an Ateneo ‘Magnificent 6’ – their last dance .

By this time Valdez is on her second year and has fully adjusted with the collegiate level of play, UST’s power is starting to decline, emerging NU with a Dindin and Jaja Santiago tandem is still raw and Adamson’s vaunted floor defense is slowly breaking.

The biggest factor for a ‘Magnificent 6’ winning the Season 75 crown – a year before Tai Bundit replaces Roger Gorayeb – is DLSU’s young lineup.

Gumabao would have been in her last playing year and Abigail Marano in her fourth. The Lady Spikers would then have sophomores Mika Reyes and Ara Galang and an incoming setter in Kim Fajardo.

A ripe time for the Lady Eagles to hoist the title.

So, what if Gohing became a part of a possible ‘Ateneo Magnificent 6’?

The Lady Eagles’ historic crown could be theirs a year earlier.

But the glaring downside: Denden Lazaro would have been warming up the bench in her first three years.

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