Pocari Sweat braces for war in PVL campaign
Mark Escarlote on Apr 12, 2017 07:00 PM
Defending champion Pocari Sweat is wary of the tough battles ahead as the Lady Warriors bid to retain the Reinforced Conference title.
Claiming the title is a huge challenge. Protecting the crown is a much bigger task.
A fact known very well by Pocari Sweat head coach Rommel Abella.
Abella and the souped-up Lady Warriors brace for war when Pocari Sweat bids to retain the Reinforced Conference title in the Premier Volleyball League starting April 30.
“Paglipat pa lang naman namin may pressure na eh. Alam naman ng mga players kung paano i-handle ‘yun,” he said. “Ang tinitingnan lang namin is kung paano i-integrate ang mga bagong players to cope up with the pressure and as well as to familiarize with the system.”
With five teams including the Alyssa Valdez-led Creamline out to pull the team off the throne, Pocari Sweat tapped new muscles to fill the void left by some key players that parted ways with the squad including former team captain Michele Gumabao.
The Lady Warriors had a successful debut season that saw them capture the Open and Reinforced titles last year. Pocari Sweat defeated Valdez and her former squad Bureau of Customs in a best-of-three Reinforced Conference Finals series sweep last November.
During the offseason, the Lady Warriors made a recruitment coup by signing former Ateneo de Manila Queen Eagle Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, ex-University of Sto. Tomas star Jessey De Leon and Jeannette Panaga, a former NCAA Finals MVP and champion from College of St. Benilde.
So far, Abella said that the team is still around 70% ready for battle with Pocari Sweat working on its jelling especially with Bosnian import 6-foot-3 middle blocker Edina Selimovic and 6-foot-1 American open spiker Michelle Strizak.
“We’re getting there kasi hindi pa naman sila nagdyi-jell as one but with the tournament a few weeks away hopefully makapag-jell na ng tuluyan ang mga players,” said Abella. “Siguro as the tournament goes on doon pa lang talaga magdyi-jell ang team namin.”
Back in the fold to lead the Lady Warriors to glory are top hitter Myla Pablo, Elaine Kasilag, Desiree Dadang, setter Gyzelle Sy and veteran libero Melissa Gohing.
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