Strizak, Pablo ready to step up with Rivers still in doubt
Mark Escarlote on May 29, 2017 02:50 PM
Siguro kaming dalawa ni Michelle (Strizak) (ready mag-lead). Siguro patibayan ng loob na ‘yan eh. Patayan na ‘yan -- Pocari Sweat ace hitter Myla Pablo
With the green light for their replacement import still in doubt, American guest player Michelle Strizak and local hitter Myla Pablo are ready step up to lead Pocari Sweat into the semifinals of the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference.
The Lady Warriors are still awaiting the release of the International Transfer Certificate (ITC) of American Krystal Rivers to be able to suit up as take over the post vacated by Bosnian middle hitter Edina Selimovic, who sustained a right hamstring tear after just two matches. Rivers according to the team’s management is already in the country.
Pocari Sweat needs extra firepower as the Lady Warriors try to secure one of the two semifinals berths at stake to join BaliPure and the Power Smashers for the best-of-three series.
With or without their reinforcement, expect Pablo and Strizak to go all-out.
“Siguro kaming dalawa ni Michelle (ready mag-lead). Siguro patibayan ng loob na ‘yan eh. Patayan na ‘yan,” said Pablo, who returned to action after skipping two matches because of an aggravated back spasm. “Kasi kailangan mong manalo ng manalo para makapasok sa semis.”
Almost two weeks removed from battle since going down with a back injury in the second set of the Lady Warriors’ five-set win over BaliPure last May 18, Pablo showed no signs of rust in her return.
The former National University standout poured 28 points anchored on 25 attacks to shoot down Philippine Air Force, 21-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-14, 15-10, last Saturday in the round robin quarterfinals opener to help Pocari Sweat snap a two-game slide.
Strizak scored 24 games the last time out, 16 points short of the league-record 40 markers including 38 from attacks she established last Thursday in a five-set loss against the Jet Spikers as she had to carry the bulk of the team’s scoring load without Selimovic and Pablo.
The American open hitter admitted that the pressure on her doubled after Selimovic’s exit.
“I think like every import here carries a lot of expectations. It’s definitely gonna be harder without her,” she said.
Still, Strizak is upbeat that they can hurdle the challenge.
“We’ve face a lot of adversities this year so we’re just gonna keep on fighting,” she said.
Pocari Sweat will take on the Alyssa Valdez-led Creamline on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan in a bid to inch closer to clinching a semis berth. The Cool Smashers also opened the quarterfinals on a high note.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles