POCARI Sweat survived a thriller over Bali Pure, 25-23, 13-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-8, to force a semis rubber match in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Saturday.
The Lady Warriors and Purest Water Defenders will meet each other on Monday for Game Three of the best-of-three semis at the Philsports Arena.
Myla Pablo, who was hospitalized on Tuesday night before Game One, took the lead in scoring with 26 points, anchored on 23 attacks, for Pocari Sweat, while Elaine Kasilag and Michele Gumabao added 17 and 12 markers, respectively.
“Kinausap ako ni coach Jan (Abella) na kapag wala si ate Michele sa loob ng court, ikaw muna magdala sa team. So ‘yun nga, nag-promise ako kay coach na kung ano man ‘yung ginawa ni ate Michele (gagawin ko rin). ’Yun lang, tinulungan ko ang team” said Pablo.
“Hindi naman ako natakot (sa leadership role) kasi nagtiwala sa akin si coach eh so paninindigan ko ang sinabi niya,” she added. “Syempre nag-ask din ako ng help kay God na tulungan ako na dalhin ang team ko.”
Pocari Sweat broke loose from a tied contest, 7-7, before pulling away, 11-7, in the fifth set after an emphatic block by Lutgarda Malaluan on Alyssa Valdez.
Bea Tan stopped the bleeding on the next play, 8-11. The Lady Warriors then widened the gap after a Valdez error, an Elaine Kasilag power hit and Michele Gumabao attack to send them to match point, 14-8, before Myla Pablo sealed the win with a service ace.
For Pocari Sweat coach Rommel Abella, their desire to win will spell the difference in the do-or-die game on Monday.
“Well Monday, all heart na lang ‘yan. Whoever comes to the game na mas determined, mas gusto manalo, I guess ‘yun ang mananalo,” he said. “Kasi ‘yung mga adjustments, mga x’s and o’s, very minor na lang ‘yan eh, so ‘yun na nga heart na lang ang magpapanalo sa amin sa Monday.”
Valdez finished with 24 points for Bali Pure, while Grethcel Soltones added 16 and Dzi Gervacio chipped in 10.
Meanwhile, Air Force already secured the first Finals berth after it survived Laoag, 25-14, 25-20, 19-25, 21-25, 15-10.