On the way to a straight-sets win, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors stuttered and had to escape the clutches of an upset-hungry Power Smashers side, to take Game One of the Premier Victory Reinforced Conference semifinals in five thrilling sets, 25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 22-25, 15-12, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Pocari Sweat stormed into the match, wearing down the Power Smashers’ steady defense to take the first two sets. But as they held a 19-14 third set advantage, the Lady Warriors’ energy fell off a cliff. Taking advantage of Pocari Sweat’s flat-footed movements, the Power Smashers rallied back and forced a fourth set.
The struggle continued into the fourth frame and the Lady Warriors could not match the Power Smashers’ renewed zeal.
“We relaxed,” lamented Pocari Sweat head coach Rommel Abella. “Ang sabi ko sa kanila na we need to stay focused to win the game. We need to work on our mind-setting.”
The Lady Warriors got their act together at the start of the decider, taking a 9-4 lead. But attack errors and mis-receptions again gave the other side room to force a 10-all deadlock. Fortunately for the defending champions, they had one last blitz, going ahead 14-12 then getting a break off a Kannika Thipachot attack error to end the match.
“We don’t have problems getting leads. It’s maintaining where we have problems. We have to really work on that kasi it’s mental. We have the skills to win,” added Abella.
Anerican import Michelle Strizak powered the Lady Warriors with 20 points, while Myla Pablo added 16. The Lady Warriors still played without replacement import Krystal Rivers due to ITC issues.
The Lady Warriors can enter their third straight Finals with a win on Tuesday at the PhilSports Arena.
Thai imports Thipachot and Hyapa Amporn led the Power Smashers with 20 and 15 points, respectively.
Pocari Sweat (3) – Strizak 20, Pablo 16, Panaga 14, Dadang 13, Nepomuceno 4, Sy 3, Kasilag 1, Cainglet 0, Gohing (L)
Powe Smashers (2) – Tipachot 20, Amporn 15, Prado 14, Pacres 6, Arocha 4, Guillema 4, Bicar 2, Galang (L)