‘Kinda weird but it’s nice’ — Valdez on being teammates with college rivals

In a competition as high as the Premier Volleyball League, anything could just happen — even the most impossible.

It is almost always weird to be on the same team with someone you are rivals with in the past, especially if this past created memories of taunting and stare downs in front of the net.

Alyssa Valdez sure knows how this feels.

Just few years back, Ateneo’s duo Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado and La Salle’s pair Michelle Gumabao and Melissa Gohing had been at each other as rivals — a bitter rival in the collegiate ranks.

Gumabao and Gohing won three championships during their stint with La Salle while Valdez and Jia had two.

Who would forget that Gumabao stare down on Valdez after a massive block in the Finals? It created a euphoria of hate for both players online.

But in a complete turn of events, the once rivals became teammates in a club team, Creamline.

After dismantling newcomer PetroGazz Angels in three straight sets today, Valdez along with Gumabao told reporters in a postgame interview that playing together feels weird but nice.

“It’s kinda weird but it’s nice talaga na there’s a lot of competition, healthy competition, inside the court. I think nilalabas namin ‘yung best in everyone because of that healthy competition,” Valdez, who scored 14 points, shared.

“Nakakatuwa lang na kahit magkakalaban kami sa UAAP, rivals, pwede pa lang in one team magkaroon ng chemistry din kahit ganyan ‘yung mga histories namin,” she added.

For Gumabao, being teammates with Valdez means one less person to defend inside the court.

“Ako masaya lang ako na hindi ko siya bo-block-en. ‘Yun lang. Ako siguro one less person to watch out for on the other side of the court,” said Gumabao, who had nine points in the game built on five attacks, two blocks, and two aces.

The newly-crowned Binibining Pilipinas Globe added that she is happy to see the competitiveness of both Valdez and Morado inside the court.

Gumabao said this kind of attitude by the duo is the exact same thing as her relationship with Gohing when they were still in college.

“And it’s masaya kasi natutuwa ako sa relationship nila ni Jia because they are very competitive. They want to be the best that they can be,” Gumabao said.

“And siyempre nanggaling din kami ni Melissa [Gohing] from a system na competitive din sa La Salle. And it’s good na even after na tapos na collegiate careers namin, nadadala pa rin namin ‘yung work ethic, ‘yung high-intensity sa training. Kaya nalalabas namin sa game namin,” she added.

More than this, however, the former collegiate rivals are taking matters of the past as past, and just focusing what will happen in the present.

For them, the previous taunting and stare downs are all part of the game and should not be taken personally.

Meanwhile, the Phenom also shared that every member of their team is ready to step up when needed.

“At the end of the day everyone really played well. Lahat naman naipapasok at nagagamit talaga,” Valdez said.

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