MICHELE Gumabao was among the instant attractions in the recent Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Anta Datu Cup opening ceremonies, serving as the muse of the Makati Skyscrapers, an expansion team in the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league.
But she isn’t the first volleyball player to try the beauty ramp and the popular spiker shared her inputs why she and other peers in the local sporting circuit had been called up to take center stage on a different avenue.
“Biglang sikat rin kasi yung volleyball eh. Hindi mo rin matatanggal yung competition in volleyball na talagang nag-boom siya over the years,” Gumabao told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview.
“Talagang pinapanood ng mga tao. Nakakatuwa talaga siya. It’s very entertaining. So I think that’s why a lot of volleyball players are getting into showbiz, have become a big influence, nai-invite mag-muse. Ako pa lang ang nagpa-pageant. Siguro sa susunod, baka may sumunod,” she added.
According to Gumabao, volleyball players like her have become a big influence to the young audience and to the male audience as well. They’ve become instant attractions and that paved the way for other opportunities outside the game. Aside from their skills, the players are also being appreciated based on their looks and charm.
“There’s a trend kasi ang daming magagandang volleyball players. Madaming matatangkad and madaming magagaling magsalita,” said Gumabao. “We all have our own advocacies and we all have our own values. Lahat kami halos, nanggaling sa magagandang school. Nati-train kami talaga.”
“I think nakukuha talaga mga volleyball players, not only on the beauty and popularity but also because of the passion that we have for the sport.”
Gumabao was named Ms. Globe Philippines 2018. She was a member of three-time UAAP champion La Salle and was chosen as back-to-back Best Blocker. She was also a former Finals MVP. Gumabao is currently playing for the Creamline Cool Smashers in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).
When Makati, headed by team owners Paolo Orbeta and Paolo Pineda and team manager Martin Arenas, was looking for a muse, Gumabao immediately crossed their minds as she has also been conducting a a clinic in Barangay Bel-Air.
This is the second time Gumabao was tapped to become a muse of a basketball team, the first one was in 2016 with the Alaska Aces in the PBA.
“First time I became a muse for a basketball team was with the Alaska Aces, I think it was 2016. My advocacy talaga is to share the passion in sports (volleyball), especially sa youth. I have my own volleyball camp and Alaska came in and we partnered, so I became the head of the Alaska Volleyball Power Camp,” said Gumabao.
But due to her busy schedule in pageantry, as well as her commitment in the PVL, Gumabao is taking a break from conducting her volleyball camps.
“This year, we’re taking a break because of my schedule, hindi ko siya maasikaso. I also have a volleyball camp in Makati, with Barangay Bel-Air. But this year, all my volleyball camps are taking a break, because I’m trying to balance playing volleyball and the Binibining Pilipinas duties,” she said.
“I had to give up a lot of other things, so yung mga ibang bagay na kumakain takaga ng oras, kailangan munang mag-break. For this year, I took a break from coaching first because I also have a lot of charity organizations I partnered with.”
Image by: Makati Skyscrapers/Mark Malcampo