“There’s no room for growth anymore in the team.”
This was how now ex-team captain Michele Gumabao summed up her decision to leave Pocari Sweat after two seasons.
Gumabao, who led the Lady Warriors to back-to-back titles in the V-League last year, opened up Wednesday, just a few hours after she posted on her Instagram account that she’s officially parting ways with the club.
“It's final na talaga I will leave Pocari and join another team. Nagtapos ang contract ko January 7,” said the former De La Salle stalwart in an interview at the Adamson gym after the Lady Falcons' practice where she serves as an assistant coach.
The two-time V-League Best Opposite Hitter and Reinforced Conference Finals Most Valuable Player also confirmed that she is now accepting offers from teams in the Philippine Superliga.
“I'm looking for a new team, I'm entertaining new offers, I mean something that I denied myself for one year,” she added.
Gumabao revealed that she and Pocari Sweat’s management are no longer seeing eye-to-eye, the main reason of her bolting out of the team she served for two years starting in 2015 when the team, then known as Philips Gold Lady Slammers, competed and won a couple of bronze medals in the PSL.
“I've been with Pocari and Philips Gold so ngayon lang talaga nagsi-sink in sa akin na aalis na ako and iba na ang magiging teammates ko sad talaga pero kailangan ko," she said.
The three-time UAAP champion continued that there are issues with her and team manager Eric Ty that they just couldn’t resolve, including compensation of players and expenses in running the team. She added that she even tried to call the attention of the management itself to air the grievances of the team being the skipper, but it all fell on deaf ears, according to Gumabao.
“Ako kasi as a player and as a person, kapag may mali lagi akong gumagawa ng solusyon. As a player ayaw kong mali ang ginagawa ko and as a coach ayaw kong mali ang ginagawa ng player ko and as a team captain ayaw kong mali ang sistema namin sa team,” Gumabao narrated. “So nagkaproblema ako with our team manager and we talked it out and hindi namin na solusyunan."
“Umakyat ako sa mga boss akala ko nasolusyunan and in the end their promises meant nothing for me so I had to leave,” she added. “Ayaw ko ng issue, ayaw ko na ako ang sinisiraan, ayaw kong ako ang masama. When I joined Philips Gold two years ago all I wanted was a happy team, you make the team happy, we make the team win and we did. We made back-to-back championships. Ang sabi ko naman, ang goal namin as a team since I entered, we achieved it together. Naging strong kami, naging maganda ang bond namin and there came to a point na lahat ng problema na minsan kahit gaano ka pa kalakas, kahit gaanon mo pa kagusto magpaka-martir hindi mo na talaga kakayanin and 'yun ang nangyari sa akin just recently.”
“Hindi ko na kaya ang issues sa loob ng team with our manager hindi ko na talaga kaya intindihin paulit-ulit ang mali. I tried, I spoke up, I tried correcting, I tried working with them for one more year pero wala talaga eh and I just hope that change will come for the team ngayon na umalis ako,” she continued. “I took a stand for myself, ayaw ko na may naaaping player sa team ko by management because the management's only job is to give the team good conditions, to support the team financially and emotionally which is very important.”
With unresolved issues, Gumabao felt that she can’t work with team anymore.
“'Yun lang, nawala na ang relationship ko with management so I cannot play for anybody that I'm not proud of or na hindi ko mahal na hindi ko nirerespeto or ganoon ang treatment sa akin,” she said. “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 and they pushed me away. I'd be happy to leave, never ko namang pagsisiksikan ang sarili ko sa isang team na ayaw na sa akin.”
Gumabao clarified that she holds no jealousy on teammate Myla Pablo’s multi-million 5-year contract including a brand new car as part of her signing bonus .
“I’m happy for Myla I know she worked hard for whatever she signed on. I love her as a friend, as a teammate and as a sister. So hindi ako magseselos kung ibinigay sa kanya ‘yun,” explained Gumabao.
Pocari Sweat to air its side
With Gumabao making it public about the issues, ABS-CBN Sports tried to get the side of Pocari Sweat but the club declined to comment and will release an official statement.
“We will release an official statement. Pinag-uusapan pa namin (ng management),” in a message sent by Ty.
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