Pocari Sweat brace for tough battle against vengeful Air Force in PVL semis
Myla Pablo and Pocari demolished Air Force in their first meeting but the Lady Warriors know the semis is a different battle. Jaime Campos

DEFENDING champion Pocari Sweat hopes for a repeat while Air Force looks for payback from its elimination round loss as the Lady Warriors and Lady Jet Spikers clash in Game One of the best-of-three semifinals series in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.

Game time is at 6:30 p.m.

The Lady Jet Spikers are eager to avenge their straight-set beating from the Lady Warriors that postponed their entry to the Final Four.

“Lesson learned ang pagkatalo namin,” said Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez.

“Kumpyansa sila, sabi ko ‘wag nilang pigilan ang confidence, ‘wag silang maglaro ng may kaba kailangan relax lang kasi pag na rattle ‘yung palo sa bola nag-e-error,” he added.

Jimenez is optimistic that his wards have grown wiser especially that his starting six is now complete.

Unlike their previous games, he had to shuffle his roster to make up for the absence of veteran Judy Ann Caballejo, who was still attending to her studies.

“Timing kasi papunta sa semis nakumpleto kami, ‘yun ‘yung factor,” said Jimenez. “Improved talaga ‘yung kumpyansa.”

Teaming up with Caballejo are Iari Yongco, May Ann Pantino, Wendy Semana, Angel Antipuesto and Jocemer Tapic.

The Lady Warriors, on the other hand, may have breezed past the Lady Jet Spikers in the elimination round but Pocari Sweat coach Rico de Guzman knows their  semis match is a new battle.

“Hindi pwedeng kumpiyansa lang tayo. Semis na 'to, iba na ang laro dito,” he said. “Sabi ko nga, kahit straight sets ang panalo natin doon (sa Air Force), babawi 'yan at hahanap 'yan ng paraan.”

“Dapat ganoon din tayo, mag-isip tayo kung paano tayo mananalo ulit sa kanila,” he added.

De Guzman stressed that he needs all of his wards to do their part if they want to finish off the series and get back to the Finals.

Aside from top hitter Myla Pablo, he is expecting much from Cai Nepomuceno, Elaine Kasilag, Jeanette Panaga, Desiree Dadang, Jessey de Leon and Mel Gohing.

“Hindi lang pwedeng si Myla ang magi-step up. Kailangan lahat ng starting six at second stringer may maitulong,” he said. 

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