Asset Managers lose prized gem

Wednesday, 10 Jan 2018
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Photo courtesy of Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

Cocolife will march without its team captain in Michele Gumabao when the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix opens this February.

In a statement sent to Volleyverse, the Asset Managers confirmed that Gumabao is no longer with them as she is now set to chase her dream of becoming a beauty queen.

There is no denying that Gumabao is the heart and soul of Cocolife.

After winning a pair of crowns in the Premier Volleyball League, the former La Salle star teamed up with Denden Lazaro to serve as the cornerstones of the Asset Managers in the country’s most prestigious volleyball league.

The Asset Managers finished fifth on their first conference followed by another fifth-place finish in the Invitationals.

But in the Grand Prix, a small miracle happened.

With Taylor Milton and Tai Manu-Olevao at the helm, the Asset Managers formally made their first semifinal appearance, sparking speculations that they can make it to the finals this year.

Those claims were further reinforced when they recruited Serbian coach Moro Branislav and prized import Sara Klisura to beef up the squad. For good measure, they added Milton and Filipino-American playmaker Shawna Lei Santos to compliment their core of Army players.

But there’s an important player who is missing in this dizzying carousel of movements – Gumabao.

And team official Joshua Ylaya voiced it out with sadness in his eyes.

“It is with a heavy heart that Michele Gumabao is no longer part of this team.”

“Our journey with her has been nothing short of amazing. However, it has come to a point where the goals of the club and that of Ms. Gumabao are no longer aligned.”

Runs in the blood

Gumabao is no stranger to limelight.

Her brother, Marco, is a prominent actor while her sister, Kat, earned a ticket to an international modeling career after a triumphant appearance in the New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.

That’s why it didn’t come as a surprise why she traded her volleyball sneakers for high heels and evening gown in the prestigious Binibining Pilipinas.

And the Asset Managers fully respect that.

“We have tried our best to find a compromise with what she wants and what the club needs.”

“We at UVC-Cocolife will continue to support her in her future endeavors as she tries to reach her dreams.”

Sources around the league refused to speculate if Gumabao had completely shut her doors on volleyball.

“We may never know.”

“If she wins (the pageant), maybe she will be too busy preparing for Miss World, Miss Universe or Miss International aside from a truckload of endorsements that would surely come her way.”

The source added that there’s no bitterness and the Asset Managers are genuinely happy over Gumabao’s decision.

For them, her victory will also be their victory.