Lady Warriors hope to take advantage of rusty Power Smashers
Mark Escarlote on Jun 03, 2017 08:32 AM
Streaking Pocari Sweat seeks to continue momentum against the Power Smashers in the best-of-three semifinals series opener.
Pocari Sweat head coach Rommel Abella hopes to use their long journey to clinch a semifinals seat as an advantage against a well-rested Power Smashers side on Saturday at the start of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference best-of-three series.
Opening serve of the series opener at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan is set at 6:30 p.m. The action will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and livestream.
The Lady Warriors occupied the no. 3 seed in the semis after completing a sweep of the round robin quarterfinals.
Pocari Sweat defeated Perlas in straight sets, 25-23, 25-15, 25-18, last Thursday. The Lady Warriors won their first two quarters matches against Philippine Air Force and Creamline in five sets.
The extra three games, according to Abella gave his squad a chance to build momentum heading into the crucial stage of the tournament.
“In a way nakakatulong siya, especially sabi ko nga, every time you go through a five-setter game or a close game, nabi-build ‘yung confidence ng mga players, and ‘yung character nila, nate-test,” he said.
Abella added that the Power Smashers have fresher legs after almost a week’s rest compared to them.
“’Yun ang negative of going to the quarterfinals kasi’di nakapagpahinga ang mga players,” the mentor said, who has a couple of players playing through injuries including ace spiker Myla Pablo (back spasm). “But on the flip side, maganda siya kasi ‘yun nga, na-test ‘yung character not only ng individual players, but yung team mismo.”
The Lady Warriors and Power Smashers split their preliminary round head-to-head. Both teams closed the prelims with 6-4 win-loss record but the Power Smashers took the outright semis berth after ending up with a higher tiebreak (point ratio).
While Pocari Sweat went through extra miles to get into the semifinals, the Power Smashers last saw action nine days ago in a sweep of BaliPure.
And the Lady Warriors are looking to pounce early if the Power Smashers show signs of rust.
“Hopefully kasi di ba gaya sa ibang events like basketball, rust, malaking kalaban ang long lay-off?” said Abella. “So ‘yun ang pinagpapanalangin namin. Pero siyempre magta-trabaho pa rin kami. Kung ano 'yung tamang ginawa namin ngayon, these past few games, gagawin namin at improve namin ang errors namin.”
Aside from Pablo, Pocari Sweat will have American import Michelle Strizak, veterans Cai Nepomuceno, Desiree Dadang, Jeannette Panaga and Elaine Kasilag leading the cause.
They will face an equally dangerous Power Smashers lineup led by the Thai duo of Hyapa Amporn and Kannika Tipachot together with young guns Jovielyn Prado, Dimdim Pacres, Regine Arocha, Andrea Marzan and Katherine Villegas.
Game 2 is on Tuesday while Game 3, if necessary, is on Thursday.
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