Guino-o comes to the rescue with Lady Warriors pushed to the brink
NOT ON MY WATCH. Heather Guino-o's back-to-back service aces were the turning point for Pocari Sweat in its do-or-die match against Air Force.
Pocari Sweat was just about to miss the championship round for the first time in four tries.
Champions in each of the last three conferences they played in, the Lady Warriors were down 0-2 in the match and 22-23 in the third set of their do-or-die match against Philippine Air Force on Wednesday.
And nothing was going right for Sgt. Rico de Guzman’s girls. “Sa tema ng laro, simula first set, parang walang gana ang players. Kaya sabi ko, ‘Semis na ‘to. Wala nang Game 4,’” the head coach shared.
At that point, desperate times called for desperate measures, as they say. “Ibig sabihin, ayaw nilang maglaro nang maayos. Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Palitan ko kayo. Marami akong pwedeng ipalit,’” de Guzman said.
He then continued, “Kung kailangan mo ng panalo, magga-gamble ka na.”
And so, de Guzman gambled. “Yung tutulong kay Myla (Pablo), yun lang ang hinahanap ko,” he expressed.
And de Guzman won his gamble as Heather Guino-o came off the bench to give whatever the team needed. “Siya yung bumuhay sa team. Siya yung tumulong kay Myla,” he said.
Indeed, the opposite hitter scored 14 points in just her fourth game with the team.
It was also her timely service aces that allowed Pocari Sweat to steal the third set and, ultimately, the win. “Nabuhayan yung team sa dalawang service ace ni Heather,” the head coach said.
Down 22-23 in the third set, the Lady Warriors fired three unanswered points to come back from the dead – the last two of which was courtesy of back-to-back aces from the former Far Eastern University standout.
Now she has made her presence felt through her actions, Guino-o is being challenged by her mentor to make her presence felt through words. “Napakatahimik kasing bata so sabi ko sa kanya every huddle, magsalita ka, walang bayad,” de Guzman shared, half-joking and half-serious.
For her part, Pocari Sweat’s hero for the day said she will keep trying to do what her coach tells her to. As she put it, “Siyempre, tina-try ko naman po yung sinasabi nila coach, nila ate, na mag-ingay po, na mag-enjoy po.”
She then continued, “Wala naman pong mawawala at mas makakatulong pa ako sa team.”
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