Veteran spiker Michele Gumabao has been on an upward swing for Pocari Sweat in the 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference before an unfortunate injury took her out of commission the past 2 matches.
While it has been reported that the Lady Warrior suffered a ruptured abdomen, Gumabao finally opens up and explains what has been hampering her for a while now.
“Mga 2 weeks I’ve had to rest because of a partial tear in my lower abdomen,” she told FOX Sports. “Wala talagang makapagsabi (how it happened) kasi I didn’t feel it upon impact or upon training. Naramdaman ko siya nung nasa bahay na ako. Di ako makahiga.”
Gumabao, who has normed 17.7 points this conference, stressed that no surgery is needed to ‘repair’ her injury. However, she is not sure whether she will be fully healthy before the tournament ends.
“It just needs rest, enough time for it to heal,” she shared. “Basta hindi siya completely torn, hindi ko kailangan ng surgery. So kaya sobrang ingat kasi once na may punit mabilis na siyang ma-total tear. So ingat lang.”
After being absent from Pocari’s win over Baguio, Gumabao rejoined the Lady Warriors in training one week ago and actually participated in pre-game warmups when they took on Iriga last Saturday at the Blue Eagle Gym.
The former La Salle star, who had a 27-point, 8-block performance against NU more than 3 weeks ago, said she can virtually do anything painlessly on the court, except to spike.
“I can train. I have no pain with moving,” she said. “Ang problema ko lang ngayon is fast contraction so upon spiking or upon contact with the ball, yun yung nahihirapan ako. When I jump up and go back for the spike, dun ako nahihirapan. But defense, serving kaya naman, blocking kaya naman.”
And with a much-ballyhooed matchup with Bali Pure looming this Saturday, Gumabao hopes to be back in harness as the Lady Warriors near a sweep of the elimination round.
She, however, did not guarantee playing against the star-studded Purest Water Defenders — the team tipped to challenge Pocari Sweat for the V-League crown.
“We’ll see,” said Gumabao. “I have no idea kung makakabalik ako ng 100% pero kakayanin. Ang hirap kasi everything comes from your core. Every movement, so medyo hirap akong biglain siya dahil napunit na. Kailangan kong alagaan talaga.”
One thing is clear, though: what’s more important for Gumabao and her team for their goal to win the championship, even if it means their star captain missing a hyped elimination-round game.
“It’s just one game,” she stressed. “Ang goal namin ngayon long-term. It’s the semifinals and hopefully the finals if we get there. Yun talaga goal ko ngayon. Our next two games are must-win. My teammates have been performing well. So they can cover for me kung saan ako maglalack.”
The Lady Warriors take on Bali Pure on Saturday, 6:30pm before wrapping up their preliminaries with a faceoff with veteran-laden Air Force on Monday, 6:30pm. Both matches will be at the PhilSports Arena. — By Josiah Albelda