Gumabao braces for Indonesians

Michele Gumabao of the Creamline Cool Smashers. PVL Media Bureau

Michele Gumabao is thrilled to face Indonesia when she leads the national women’s volleyball team in the ASEAN Grand Prix starting Friday.

Gumabao yesterday said the Indonesians are one of the gold standards in Southeast Asian volleyball so winning over them will be a massive boost to their morale heading into the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia next year.

The Nationals didn’t play the Indonesians during the Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup for Women that the country hosted two weeks ago.

“We’ll leave on Wednesday for the ASEAN Grand Prix,” said Gumabao, who will banner the team that will be missing the services of top hitter Alyssa Valdez.

“We’re excited to go up against Indonesia since we didn’t play them in the AVC Cup but we’re also excited to play against Vietnam and Thailand again.”

The Indonesians are a force to be reckoned with in Southeast Asia.

Although Thailand is the 15-time champion, the Indonesians prove to be the biggest thorns in the Filipinas’ path as they clinched the bronze medal in six of the past seven editions of the SEA Games.

In their previous encounter, the Indonesians rode on the backs of Ratri Wulandari and Megawati Pertiwi down the stretch to pull off a huge 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21 victory to clinch the bronze medal of the SEA Games.

It was such a heartbreaking setback for the Filipinas as it spoiled their mission of stepping into the medal podium for the first time since 2015.

Gumabao said beating the Indonesians in the four-nation tourney will be truly satisfying.

“We gave our hearts against them and we know we can make adjustments so we really want to face them again because they are the team that will prove that the Asian style is different,” said Gumabao, who joins setter Jia de Guzman in guiding the young core of Tots Carlos, Celine Domingo, Risa Sato, Kyla Atienza and Jema Galanza in the prestigious regional tourney.

“It’s fast, it’s low and it’s such a hard style to copy, especially Thailand. They play a lot of quick balls and we’re excited to play against them because we want to learn from them.”

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