Pocari Sweat survives another thriller, forces semis decider
Mark Escarlote on Jul 02, 2016 09:54 PM
Pocari Sweat forced a semifinals Game 3 after a five-set escape over BaliPure.
Pocari Sweat kept its championship seat bid alive forcing a series decider by outlasting the BaliPure Purest Water Defenders, 25-23, 13-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-8, in Game 2 of the 13th V-League Open Conference best-of-three semifinals at The Arena in San Juan Saturday.
Myla Pablo smashed 23 kills in her total of 26 points to pace the Lady Warriors, who tied the series one game apiece and ended a two-game losing slump since the end of the elimination round.
“Noong Game 1 parang wala kami sa focus. Before ng game kanina nag-usap-usap kami sabi ni Ate Michele (Gumabao) na magtiwala lang tayo at isang magandang receive lang, makakapag-play kami ng maayos,” said Pablo, who had a pair of aces including the match-clinching service winner.
BaliPure took the series opener, 25-20, 25-19, 26-24, last Wednesday.
Game 3 is on Monday at the PhilSports Arena where the survivor will take on Philippine Air Force in a best-of-three affair starting July 13.
Elaine Kasilag scored 17 points while Gumabao had 12 for Pocari Sweat, who had a solid game in front of the net putting pressure on BaliPure’s open spikers and scoring a total of 10 kill blocks.
Siemens Dadang and Lutgarda Malaluan had a combined seven kill blocks for the Lady Warriors, who defeated the Water Defenders in the elims also in five sets.
Pocari Sweat built an 11-7 lead on the fifth. BaliPure scored on the next play but Alyssa Valdez committed a net error followed by a Kasilag kill. Melissa Gohing showed her vintage form as the former De La Salle libero kept the ball alive in a long rally that ended with Gumabao pounding a kill to push the Lady Warriors at matchpoint.
“Challenge namin sa kanila sa training namin last night na, “We have to prove to everybody that we’re also a capable team.” Na kaya namin silang talunin,” said Pocari Sweat assistant coach Rommel Abella.
The Water Defenders forced the decider by breaking a 20-20 deadlock with a 5-1 spurt highlighted by a powerful smash by Grethcel Soltones followed by Amy Ahomiro’s missile off a bad reception by the Lady Warriors.
Valdez led BaliPure with 24 points from 20 kills and four aces.
Soltones had 16 while Dzi Gervacio finished with 10 for the Water Defenders, who had 13 points from service aces but gave away 30 points off errors.
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