Basta kalaban namin Ateneo, 'di sa amin ang crowd -- Gumabao
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 15, 2016 04:50 PM
I believe kung para sa yo, para sa’yo -- Michele Gumabao
Pocari Sweat skipper Michele Gumabao’s voice during a live TV interview after receiving the Finals Most Valuable Player award was drowned by loud boos from the crowd.
Alyssa Valdez, who was on the losing end of the best-of-three 13th V-League Reinforced Conference Finals that ended in two games, tried her best to hush the jeers. She paused in the middle of her own interview with the print and online media, raised her hands and pleaded the unruly crowd to show respect to Gumabao and the champions Lady Warriors.
Valdez accepted her fate after letting out some emotions by shedding tears moments after the service of Pocari Sweat middle Desiree Dadang went off her hands that signaled the fall of the Transformers Monday in Game 2 at the PhilSports Arena.
The partisan crowd’s emotion took some time to die down.
Gumabao bannered the title-clinching 25-14, 25-10, 22-25, 25-23, win with 14 points and for most of the fourth set showed the notorious on-court swag that opposing fans love to hate about her back when she was still playing for De La Salle University.
The team captain knew that she’ll receive a barrage of jeers but being a veteran of many wars starting from the UAAP, the boos just fueled her desire to deliver the Lady Warriors’ second straight title in their debut season in the league.
“Ako man as a player natutuwa ako ‘pag malakas ‘yung crowd, kaya siguro lumabas ‘yung college days (swag) ko kasi nagwa-wild na ‘yung crowd,” said the Best Opposite Spiker winner, who finished with 13 points in their 25-22, 25-18, 25-18, Game 1 win last Saturday.
“‘Yung energy ko kasi nakikisabay sa crowd ‘pag on na on yung crowd. Ako personally, natutuwa ako sa maiingay na venue, like yung parang sa MOA Arena na punong puno, doon ako natutuwa at ginaganahan ako,” she added. “Kahit ‘di na 'Go Pocari!' ‘yung naririnig ko, medyo boo na ang naririnig ko, OK lang. They're still here to watch and we're still here to play.
“At the end of the day, the best way to silence a crowd is to win and that's what we did a good job.”
Gumabao during the tight fourth set was seen either shaking her head or grinning at the players at the other side of the court each time Pocari Sweat scored a point.
Her antics vexed the mostly BoC fans that trooped the venue especially during the stretch that broke a 14-14 deadlock and gave the Lady Warriors a 19-16 lead. Two purported non-calls (checked balls) by the referees during the stretch angered the BoC supporters and players including Valdez, who complained to no avail for the points that they felt should’ve gone their way.
Dapat fair call
Valdez felt that what they thought was a pair of non-calls by referees Nestor Bello and Jeff Lopez in the fourth set, in a way, did sway the momentum of the match.
The Transformers, down 1-2, engaged Pocari Sweat in a tight contest in the frame tying the frame at 14 after chopping down a three-point deficit capped by Pau Soriano’s drop.
But when BoC thought that they were making a good run, the breaks of the game didn’t go their way in the next plays.
Thai import Kanjana Kuthaisong’s attack was called long but the Transformers disagreed as it sparked the Lady Warriors’ two-straight points to build 16-14 lead. During that play Gumabao shrugged her shoulders that there was no check ball as Valdez pleaded with the first referee.
BoC was again shocked when Rose Marie Vargas’ spike was called long that gave Pocari Sweat a 19-16 lead. Valdez approached both referees to protest the call as Gumabao dribbles the ball on the Lady Warriors’ service line waiting for the whistle to begin the next play.
The call left the BoC supporters aghast.
“It’s really crucial din naman. Even we players nakikita mo rin naman na ipinaglalaban namin every point. It’s really dapat fair call,” said Valdez. “Pero you can’t control everything. It’s part of the game. We really have to accept they won the game din naman talaga.”
The Transformers came back to tie the set at 23 but a miscue on Vargas’ attack and with Valdez failing to hold her service receive, BoC closed the conference winless against Pocari Sweat in three games since the elimination round.
“It’s a game. Someone’s gonna win, someone’s gonna lose,” she said. “Pocari won and we’re just on to the next and we’re gonna try harder next time.”
Ateneo-La Salle all over again
“Di na naman para sa amin ang crowd pero OK lang,” said Gumabao.
Boos and jeers from the dissatisfied crowd showered the Lady Warriors when they were called next after Transformers received its runner-up trophy.
It intensified when confetti started to drop as the team stood at center court.
“We know our supporters and as long as we're together, working inside the court, we're going to win each and every game,” said Gumabao.
Gumabao, who won three titles in the UAAP for the green and white, even compared the scene to her college days specifically during her last two seasons (74 and 75) when she and the Lady Spikers denied Valdez and the Lady Eagles the title.
“Basta kalaban namin ang Ateneo, 'di talaga para sa amin 'yung crowd, ever since La Salle. Ever since in our UAAP days,” said Gumabao, who foregone her playing year in Season 76 where Ateneo started to collect its first of two straight UAAP crowns.
Valdez has yet to win a title against Gumabao and another former Lady Spiker libero Melissa Gohing, a fact that Gumabao tried to avoid when asked by reporters.
“'Di naman,” she reacted. “It was more of just the team. Every time nagkakatapat kami, ‘yung teams namin kundisyon din. ‘Di ako ang nag-deny (sa kanya ng championship), lahat kami.”
“Lahat ng tao sinasabi ‘yun. She worked hard for it, her team worked hard for it, pero at the end of the day, it’s the team that wants it the most, the team that worked and prepared for the championship,” she added. “Sabi niya (Valdez) sa last interview, ‘di nila masyado pinaghirapan, kulang sa training, and if she said that, I think she know what they lacked in. We had our weaknesses also but in the end, I believe kung para sa yo, para sa’yo.”
Gumabao and the core of the team are expected to remain intact while Valdez’s future is yet to be decided with BoC.