Full-strength Pocari exacts payback on Air Force to start PVL quarterfinals on winning note
Myla Pablo's return proved timely in Pocari's thrilling win over Air Force. Dante Peralta

DEFENDING champion Pocari Sweat survived Air Force, 21-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-14, 15-10, to start the round robin quarterfinals with a win in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.

Returning from an injury, Myla Pablo poured in 28 points for the Lady Warriors, while American import Michelle Strizak added 24 markers.

The two teamed up in offense as Pablo and Strizak combined for 47 of the team’s 65 hits in a match that took two hours and eight minutes.

“Actually binibiro ko sila kahapon ni Michelle. Sabi kasi ni Myla, Michelle has got to produce 50 points para manalo. Sabi ko hindi, we need 30 from Michelle and 20 from Myla and then chip in from the others,” shared Pocari Sweat coach Rommel Abella. “Ayun mabuti na lang nag materialize ‘yung joke namin tatlo.”

The Lady Warriors, who snapped a two-game winning run now, hold a 1-0 card.

“Going to this game, after ng pagkatalo namin noong Thursday, sabi ko sa kanila we need a good start sa quarterfinals,” said Abella.

Pocari Sweat cruised to a 9-4 lead before Thai import Patcharee Sanengmuang delivered the goods for the Lady Jet Spikers to cut down the lead, 7-9.

Jeanette Panaga, Strizak and Pablo teamed up for Pocari Sweat to seal the win.

Panaga made nine points for Pocari Sweat, while Cai Nepomuceno and Desiree Dadang added five markers apiece.

Jocemer Tapic made 19 points for Air Force, while Saengmuang finished with 15, Me Antipuesto chipped in 14 and Iari Yongco had 12. 

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