Coach Abella confident Pocari can bounce back against Bali Pure despite fatigue, injury concerns
Pocari Sweat vows to be ready for Game 2 against Bali Pure despite injury concerns to Myla Pablo, Michele Gumabao. Dante Peralta

POCARI Sweat coach Rommel Abella remained optimistic despite falling to Bali Pure in the opener of their best-of-three semifinals series in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference.

The Lady Warriors bowed to the Purest Water Defenders, 20-25, 19-25,-24-26, on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan but Abella is confident they can bounce back stronger in the next game, knowing that they have beaten Bali Pure against tough odds before.

“We did it once, we believe na we can do it again,” said Abella, referring to their come-from-behind win over Bali Pure, 21-25, 6-25, 26-24, 27-25, 19-17, in the elimination round.

But Abella hopes to address his team's habit of starting games sluggish and that his players' weary bodies are fully recovered in time for Game Two on Saturday.

His top two hitters, Myla Pablo and Michele Gumabao, are still both hobbling after coming off injuries. And to make things worse, Pablo was also hospitalized Tuesday night, before Game 1 of the semis against Bali Pure, due to overfatigue from balancing volleyball practices and games and her studies. 

“‘Yung kay Myla kasi, over-fatigue ang nangyari sa kanya kasi kahapon ata na-ospital,” said Abella. “So si Myla kasi class siya hanggang 3 p.m. tapos mag-eensayo siya ng 6 p.m. Actually [before ng game] galing pa siyang class so I guess nagpatung-patong na rin ang pagod,” said Abella.

“Actually hindi pa talaga fully healed ‘yung injury ni Michele, hindi pa rin siya cleared ng doctors. Pero kasi pag nilalaro naman niya, nawawala. ‘Yun nga pag tumitigil lang nararamdaman ang pain,” he added.

But Abella is not making any excuses for their loss. He believed that with or without injuries, his wards should not be affected by anything especially during the final stretch of the tournament.

“Pero andoon na tayo, I’m not making any excuses, tinalo talaga nila kami so fatigue or injuries wala na dapat ngayon ‘yun,” he said.

“I guess ‘yun nga, fatigue is a factor but I wouldn’t discount na ganon pero sabi ko nga sa ganitong stage ng tournament dapat marunong tayong mag-overcome ng ganitong factor,” added Abella.

Pocari Sweat and Bali Pure will meet again on Saturday.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada