Pocari Sweat shuts down Valdez, Bali Pure to seal V-League finals duel vs Air Force 
Myla Pablo and Pocari Sweat turned up the defense to shut down Bali Pure and advance to the finals. Dante Peralta

POCARI Sweat slammed the door on Bali Pure 15-25, 27-25, 25-11, 25-23 to book a place in the finals of the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City on Monday.

Myla Pablo unloaded 26 points for the Lady Warriors, while Elaine Kasilag had 21 and skipper Michele Gumabao had 15 points and 16 digs.

Pocari Sweat and Air Force will tangle in a best-of-three Finals starting on July 13 as the league will go on a week-long break to give way to the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

“Trademark na nga ata namin ang slow start,” said Pocari Sweat coach Rommel Abella after his team trailed 0-1 in the series when Bali pure took Game One, 25-20, 25-19, 26-24.

“Tawag nga sa amin diesel team eh kasi ang tagal naming mag-init. Good thing nakabawi kami kaagad and nagtuloy tuloy naman ang efforts namin,” he added.

After bouncing back in Game Two with a thrilling five-setter victory, 25-23, 13-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-8, Pocari Sweat not only capitalized on its strong and powerful attacks but its impressive defense spelled the difference.

Veteran libero Mel Gohing had 16 digs and 18 excellent receptions, while Gyselle Sy registered 52 of the team’s 55 excellent sets for the Lady Warriors, who only had light training sessions for two hours everyday.

“Wala naman kaming ginawang adjustments, kung meron man, medyo minimal lang. We just focused sa receive namin kasi based from the past games namin dun talaga kami laging maraming errors,” said Abella. "Ang pinakamaraming ginawa namin sa training ay ‘yung service receive."     

Bali Pure looked to force a decider after it led, 19-17, in the fourth set but a smart play by Abella to put in veteran player Rossan Fajardo, elder sister of La Salle setter Kim, scored crucial back-to-back service aces on Alyssa Valdez to tie the contest 19-19.

NCAA two-time MVP and San Sebastian star Grethcel Soltones led Bali Pure with 19 points, all from spikes, while Valdez had 15 and Amy Ahomiro chipped in 13.

The Purest Water Defenders will face Laoag in a best-of-three battle for third. 



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