POCARI Sweat coach Rommel Abella’s last-minute decision to field in Myla Pablo was the game changer for the Lady Warriors in the round robin quarterfinals of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference.
The two-time champion snapped a two-game losing skid as it escaped Air Force, 21-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-14, 15-10, on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
After two games of not playing due to aggravated back spasms, Pablo returned on the court to lead Pocari Sweat with 28 points, anchored on 25 attacks, in a match that took two hours and eight minutes to finish.
“We needed a great start kasi quarterfinals, gusto talaga namin manalo. We’re forced na palaruin siya talaga,” said Abella.
Still, it was a decision that had the approval of the team’s physical therapist and Pablo herself.
“We were checking on her during the spiking drills namin sa official warm up and tinanong ko siya (PT) how does Myla look, sabi niya, ‘ok naman coach’ so kanina ko lang nagdecide na gamitin talaga siya ng ganoon katagal,” said Abella.
Unknown to the Pocari Sweat mentor, Pablo was already itching to play after she was reduced to a mere spectator in the team’s back-to-back losses to Creamline and Air Force.
“Sa last two games namin naisip ko lang na ‘hala gusto kong maglaro’,” she said. “Gusto kong tulungan ang team ko kaso wala akong magawa kasi nandoon lang ako sa tabi. Parang gusto kong sabihin na, ‘coach kaya ko.’”
The loss to Air Force at the end of the elimination round proved beneficial for Pablo.
If Pocari Sweat won the game, it could have secured the last outright semis spot and not play in the round robin quarterfinals.
But when she was given the green light to finally play, the Tarlac native didn’t waste the opportunity.
“Yun nga di ko na lang iniisip yung injury ko basta maglaro lang ako para sa team ko,” she said. “Ang unang nagsabi si coach John (Abella) na, ‘Myla kaya mo na ba maglaro?’ Ang sabi ko ‘kaya ko po. Kapag hindi ko kaya sasabihin ko naman sa inyo.’”
Pablo showed no rust after aggravating her back spasms a week ago when they were playing against BaliPure. She was immediately rushed to the nearby Cardinal Santos Medical Center in Wilson St., San Juan.