Pablo to provide cutting edge for Pocari Sweat
ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 13, 2016 10:43 AM
Can Myla Pablo carry Pocari Sweat to glory?
Lady Warrior Myla Pablo was nothing but brilliant in her last two matches in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13-Open Conference. She was power and precision combined as she spearheaded debuting Pocari Sweat to a come-from-behind semifinal playoff victory over Alyssa Valdez and BaliPure before full houses at the PhilSports Arena.
The shy, 22-year-old marketing graduate from Gerona, Tarlac, spread-eagled the court, striking for 26 points with impunity in each of those two games as she spearheaded Pocari Sweat to the finals against Philippine Air Force in its maiden appearance in the country’s longest-running league in women’s volleyball.
There’s no arguing that Pablo has long arrived even when she was still suiting up for National University, but in her last two outings with Pocari, she underscored the fact that she deserves her place at the top of the sport. And many believe she’s now the best spiker hereabouts. Her early numbers at the start of the 13th year of the V-League confirm so.
Along with the highly dependable Michele Gumabao and new sensation Elaine Kasilag, Pablo, who spent part of her growing-up years in a convent in her hometown, will provide the cutting edge for the Lady Warriors in their title confrontation with also first-time finalists Air Force Jet Spikers. She will go into the July 13 Game 1 also at PhilSports Arena touting the highest, elimination-round average per game of 16.4 points among all the finalists.
She’s also the only player in the finals who scored double digits in all the games she played. She was indisposed in a pair of matches in the preliminaries but came off it breathing fire in her next two outings with 24 points in the Lady Warriors’ five-set outlasting of Balipure and 16 in their only defeat so far to Team Laoag at the windup of the elimination round.
Gumabao, whose natural leadership always holds her team together on the court, posted the second highest average per game of 14.4 points in the eliminations among the finalists, followed by Kasilag with 14.
Of the Jet Spikers, Judy Ann Caballejo was tops at 12.3 points per game, followed by quicker Jocemer Tapic at 10.6, and Joy Cases at 10.3.
Most beautiful face
Myla Pablo would usually emerge from the locker room after every game freshly-bathed, hair still wet, face untouched by cosmetics, sports bag slung over one shoulder, and arms enclosed around a gift from an adoring fan sometimes.
The freshness radiating from her face, considered one of the most beautiful in Philippine women’s volleyball, belied the fact that for nearly one and a half hours earlier she had played a full match.
The five-foot-eleven daughter of a cook from the province popular for its rich cuisine is more beautiful in person than on TV. Off the court, though, she is shy and self-effacing. She walks with head slightly bowed. She was once seen quietly standing alone along the street fronting the The Arena in San Juan, waiting for a bus or a jeepney after playing in an earlier V-League tourney.
She admits to being still ‘mahiyain’, but says she’ll never feel embarrassed when seen commuting. Definitely not, she intones. But she feels unreasonably so when fans crowd around her to request for a selfie or an autograph.
Pablo has found the experiences of playing for flag and country in the last Southeast Asia Games in Singapore and the Asian Under-23 Championship with players from other teams and schools edifying. She says she was particularly touched by the genuine warmth and kakikayan of her Ateneo teammates on the national squads – Alyssa Valdez, Denden Lazaro, Bea de Leon and Julia Morado, who would give her a long and tight hug whenever they meet.
“Hindi ako makapaniwala na tatratuhin nila ako na parang taga-exclusive school din ako,” she says, her face lighting up in recollection of her fun and bonding moments with her teammates on the two Philippine teams last year.
The fourth among five children of a father who works as a restaurant cook, Pablo keeps thanking the Creator for the multitude of blessings that have already fallen on her lap. She counts among them her being able to study in college on a full athletic scholarship, her free travels abroad as part of the national teams, and her financially rewarding stints in commercial leagues.
She forgot to add her beauty to the list, but not her enormous appetite for food, glorious food.
“Wala akong preno-preno sa pagkain,” she says with a smile. “Hindi po ako tabain.”