WHAT IF… Pocari Sweat maintained its championship core
Mark Escarlote on Jul 15, 2020 04:58 PM
(Photo: Arvin Lim)
In 2016, Pocari Sweat bolted out of the Philippine Superliga to join the now defunct Shakey’s V-League.
Shedding their former team name Philip’s Gold, the Lady Warriors immediately made their mark in the 13th and final season of the V-League.
Led by power-hitter Myla Pablo, seasoned opposite spiker Michele Gumabao, setter Gyzelle Sy and veteran libero Mel Gohing, Pocari Sweat dominated the season by claiming the Open and Reinforced Conferences.
Gumabao parted ways with Pocari Sweat the following year, but the Lady Warriors were able to sign Jeanette Panaga and Fille Cainglet-Cayetano.
With key additions and good imports, Pocari Sweat extended its championship run in the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference.
The Lady Warriors suffered an upset at the hands of BaliPure the following Open Conference and from there Pocari Sweat began its decline.
The Air Force-backed Pocari Sweat finished fourth in the import-laden tournament in 2018, fell short of a Final Four appearance in the Open Conference before eventually disbanding with its franchise-player Pablo bought out by Motolite last year.
But what if Pocari Sweat maintained the core that brought them all their success?
One thing is for sure, the Lady Warriors will remain a title contender if not win a couple more championships.
Imagine Pablo, Gumabao, Sy, Gohing, Elaine Kasilag, Desiree Dadang and Panaga at the helm. Then you have Shola Alvarez, Jessey De Leon, Fil-Am setter Iris Tolenada, Cai Baloaloa, Cainglet-Cayetano, Lutgarda Malaluan, Rica Enclona, Gayle Valdez, Erika Alkuino and Sarah Espelita backing them up. A pretty solid roster, right?
Gumabao’s leadership will keep Pocari Sweat sailing in the right direction even in the roughest situation. Her offense and net defense including her energy-boosting swag paired with Pablo’s tenacity and Kasilag’s consistency will bring fear to any team that gets in their way.
Panaga and Dadang manning the net will surely frustrate the opposing team’s attackers.
Gohing and Sy have proven their connection in transition from defense to offense in the V-League. Imagine developing that connection a few years more?
Pocari Sweat’s front office is also known for bringing in caliber imports that can jell and complement its local line-up. For sure, the Lady Warriors will come up with better and stronger reinforcements every import-laden tournament.
Then, of course, if Pocari Sweat kept its championship core you would be looking at a different Creamline, PetroGazz and Motolite teams.
As we all know, the transfer of Gumabao and Gohing boosted the Cool Smashers’ roster that eventually led to Creamline’s three titles.
Same goes with the Angels, who had Panaga, Baloaloa, De Leon and Enclona in their Reinforced Conference championship run last year.
The young Motolite squad looks up to Pablo and Tolenada as its leaders.
One could only imagine how much success Pocari Sweat could’ve made if the management maintained its best roster.
The Lady Warriors truly are a powerhouse before its demise.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles