Pocari coach Abella insists nothing personal in crunch clash vs pal Kungfu Reyes, UST
Rommel Abella hopes to lead his Pocari Sweat team to the top spot against close friend Kungfu Reyes' team UST. Dante Peralta

CLOSE buddies Rommel Abella and Kungfu Reyes insisted there will be nothing personal when their respective teams Pocari Sweat and University of Santo Tomas clash for the solo top spot in the Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference on Wednesday.

The former UST men’s volleyball team stars will play against each other for the first time as Abella’s Lady Warriors try to defang Reyes’ Tigresses at 6:00 p.m. at the PhilSports Arena.

But for Abella, who steered Pocari Sweat to the Open Conference title in July, it’s just another game between him and his former teammate.

Abella, who was then a libero, and Reyes, who was a setter/spiker, played together under the mentorship of Emil Lontoc and Odjie Mamon and won two titles in the UAAP in 1999 and 2001.

“Wala, no pressure, kasi matalik kaming teammates, magkumpare pa kami, araw-araw kaming nagkakasama sa UST, we’ll treat this just another game,” said Abella, who’s also an assistant coach to Clarence Esteban at UST boys’ volleyball team.

“But will still push for the No. 1 spot,” he added with a warning.

The Pocari Sweat mentor knows Reyes’ tactics and plans and he’s sure that it won’t be an easy match against the collegiate team.

But he’s confident that his veteran team can win the mind games and bank on their experience especially during the crucial stretches of the match.

“‘Yun ang paalala ko lagi sa mga players namin, ang collegiate teams kasi all year round nagte-training ‘yan, so conditioning wise hindi namin sila malamang talunin,” he admitted.

“Ang advantage namin is ‘yung veteran leadership namin at saka veteran presence namin, so we’ll work from there,” he said. “Kung madadaan namin sa pagigng beterano then doon tayo (makakakuha) ng puntos.” 

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