Pocari Sweat wins six in a row, takes semis No. 1 spot
Mark Escarlote on Nov 02, 2016 08:16 PM
Pocari Sweat escaped the gritty University of Sto. Tomas to occupy the no. 1 spot in the Final Four.
Pocari Sweat occupied the No. 1 seat in the Final Four after taming the University of Sto. Tomas Tigresses, 25-16, 25-23, 22-25, 25-14, Wednesday for the Lady Warriors’ sixth straight win to close the 13th V-League Reinforced Conference elimination round at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The Lady Warriors finished the round with a 6-1 win-loss record behind the waxing-hot performance of American import Bre Mackie and Myla Pablo.
The power-hitting duo took over in the fourth set as the Open Conference champion built a 24-13 lead to take the fight out of the all-Filipino collegiate team.
Pocari Sweat will face the no. 4 team UST in the best-of-three semifinals.
"As expected naman sinabi ko naman from the start na UST kahit lamangan mo yan lalaban at lalaban pa rin ang mga 'yan eh. 'Yun ang gustong i-instill ni coach Kungfu (Reyes) sa kanila eh," said Pocari Sweat coach Rommel Abella. "Good thing sa mga bandang dulo ng sets naka-recover kami."
Mackie unleashed Mackie a personal tournament-high 27 points anchored on 22 kills, four kill blocks and an ace while Pablo scored 16 points with 12 coming off attacks for Pocari Sweat. American middle Andrea Kacsits and skipper Michele Gumabao scored eight markers each.
The Espana-based squad gave the Lady Warriors a scare in the second set overahualing a deep 16-9 deficit with a huge 11-4 rally to tie the frame at 20. UST saved two set points to draw close again 24-23 before Mackie sealed the set with an attack.
Getting their confidence back with their stand in the tight second set, the Tigresses went out in the third set with more fire and spunk. UST started slow in the frame before slowly heating up to control the set drawing set point, 24-20. A pair of errors from Cherry Rondina and Pam Lastimosa cut UST's lead to two before Rondina forced an extension with an off speed.
UST, which played without injured sophomore Carla Sandoval (right hand), dropped to 5-2 tied with BaliPure and Bureau of Customs, which will clash in the other Final Four pairing.
EJ Laure had 18 points while Rondina and Ria Meneses finished with 10 markers apiece for the Tigresses.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles