Pocari Sweat, UST start quest for championship berth
Mark Escarlote on Nov 05, 2016 07:44 AM
All eyes are set on the match up of Pocari Sweat American import Bre Mackie and University of Sto. Tomas hitter EJ Laure as they try to lead their respective team closer to the Finals.
Red-hot Pocari Sweat hopes to ride the crest of its six-game winning streak when the Lady Warriors joust with the spunky University of Sto. Tomas Tigresses in Game 1 of their 13th V-League Reinforced Conference best-of-three semifinals series at the PhilSports Arena on Saturday.
The 6:00 p.m. match promises a sizzling battle between the two teams which clashed in the elims closing playdate just four days ago.
Action will air live over S+A channel 23 and S+A HD channel 166 and via livestream on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/vleague.
Game 2 is on Monday and if necessary, Game 3 is on Wednesday.
Pocari Sweat, seeking a follow up to its Open Conference conquest, topped the elimination round with a 6-1 win-loss record. The Lady Warriors made an amazing winning run after dropping its debut against Philippine Air Force in five sets.
American import Bre Mackie leads Pocari Sweat’s offense, averaging almost 20 points per game, with the help of Open Conference Finals Most Valuable Player Myla Pablo, Michele Gumabao and American middle blocker Andrea Kacsits.
Mackie finished with 27 points built on a 22-kill spree in the Lady Warriors’ 25-16, 25-23, 22-25, 25-14 victory over the Tigresses last Wednesday.
UST closed the elims with a 5-2 card tied with BaliPure and Bureau of Customs however the Tigresses dropped to the fourth spot after the tiebreak (set ratio).
Despite their advantage in height and experience and for winning in their first meeting, Pocari Sweat head coach Rommel Abella is wary of the Tigresses' hunger and ability to bounce back.
“I know babawi sila. We just need to focus on our own game and our own play,” he said. “Ang UST kasi alam naman natin na they’re well coached alam natin na babawi sila.”
Young guns EJ Laure, who is averaging 16.4 points per game, Cherry Rondina, Ria Meneses and skipper Pam Lastimosa will lead the charge for the Espana-based squad.
But UST will miss the services of sophomore Carla Sandoval, who fractured her right pinky during the University Games quarterfinals in Dumaguete against Adamson. Sandoval is averaging 9.3 points per outing.
Tigresses coach Kungfu Reyes admitted that his wards were out of condition in their last match because of fatigue after their UniGames championship run. But with a few days of rest and preparation, Reyes believes the outcome of their showdown will be different this time.
“(Sa Sabado) maaari pang mag-iba kasi makakapag-training pa kami, at makakagawa ng mga panibagong adjustment,” said Reyes, who played alongside Abella during their college days in UST.
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