Michele cites reason for exit

Wednesday, 11 Jan 2017
Nads Ong - Correspondent - @nadineisreal

Michele Gumabao formally confirms that she’s leaving Pocari Sweat despite winning a pair of titles in the Philippine V-League last year.

Gumabao, the hero in the epic best-of-three finals showdown against Alyssa Valdez and Bureau of Customs in the Reinforced Conference last year, said walking away from the Lady Warriors comes with a heavy heart, especially after being an original part of the team starting when they were still at the Philippine Superliga (PSL) in 2015.

But turning down a contract extension is the most logical thing to do as she’s no longer seeing eye-to-eye with the Pocari Sweat management.

In an ambush interview right after her training with Adamson University, where she serves as assistant coach, the 24-year old Gumabao bared her decision, confirming Volleyverse’s sources that she is leaving her club for good to transfer to another team.

“It’s final na talaga. I will leave Pocari and join another team after my contract expired last December 31.”

“Ngayon lang nagsi-sink in sa akin na aalis na ako, na mag-iiba na ako ng teammates. Sad talaga pero kailangan ko, kailangan nila, kailangan naming lahat. It’s gonna be for everybody naman for sure.”

Major problem

In a report late Tuesday, a handful of sources revealed that the reason behind Gumabao’s shocking exit is that she craves for new challenge after leading the Lady Warriors to a pair of dominant finishes in the V-League last year.

It’s far from truth.

Gumabao said the real reason was the major problem within the organization, which she thinks could only be solved by calling it quits.

After all, she’s the team captain, the leader, who serves as the bridge between her teammates and the management.

“Nagka-problema ako with our team manager, we talked it out. Hindi namin nasolusyunan, pumunta ako sa lahat ng boss. Akala ko nasolusyunan na. But in the end, their promises meant nothing for me so I had to leave.”

“I took a stand for myself. Ayaw ko ng may naaping player sa team ko (by) the management because the management’s only job is to give the team good conditions, to support the team financially and emotionally, which are very important.”

She said she dealt with it for over a year and she can’t handle it any longer.

Now, she’s glad that it’s finally over.

“I can’t play for anybody that I’m not proud of at ganoon yung treatment sa akin. So I voiced out every opinion that I could. Oo, gumawa ako ng gulo between management and me, pero wala eh, they chose to keep him (team manager) and they pushed me away.”

“I’d be happy to leave. Never ko pinagsiksikan ang sarili ko sa isang team na ayaw sa akin so I’m looking for a new team. I’m entertaining new offers, something that I denied myself for one year.”

Not jealous

Gumabao also maintained that she’s not jealous of Myla Pablo, who was given the longest contract in the history of Philippine volleyball on top of a brand-new car as signing bonus.

She said she’s happy for Pablo’s contract, knowing how hard the former National University star worked for it.

But she stressed that the multi-million contract sends a very wrong message, especially since some of their teammates have yet to sign even a one-year deal.

“I mean, I’m happy for Myla, she worked hard for whatever she signed on. I love her as a teammate, as a friend and as a sister. So hindi ako magseselos kung binigay sa kanya yun because I don’t need it. I mean, I have a car, I have a house and a family that supports me.”

“All I asked for was a happy team. And siguro naman part man ako ng team na yun and I wasn’t happy anymore.”

Still, there’s a tinge of sadness in Gumabao’s voice.

She’s obviously hurting.

Yet, she’s very much ready to put this ugly episode behind and start the process of healing and moving on.