They went to five sets again, but this time the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors had their ace Myla Pablo to carry them past the Philippine Air Force Lady Jet Spikers, 21-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-14, 15-10, to start the quarterfinals of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Replicating their match last Thursday, both squads played sporadically well and traded solid efforts as they went to the next set. Air Force got a leg up with a 2-1 set advantage, but the defending champions forced a fifth set with a dominant showing in the fourth frame.
With the decider tied at 4, Pocari Sweat made the first decisive move, scoring the next five points thanks to hits from Jeanette Panaga and Myla Pablo. Air Force kept the set close, coming within two, 9-7, after errors from Pocari Sweat. The Lady Jet Spikers, however, ended up surrendering errors to help Pocari Sweat to the win.
Former PVL Finals MVP Pablo was brilliant offensively, scoring 28 points — an unexpected feat since this was her first game back after she injured her back against Bali Pure two weeks ago.
“We had plans of not using Myla. But we were forced to kasi we wanted to have a great start in the quarterfinals. Wala lang siya sa kundisyon pero good na ‘yung back niya,” said Pocari Sweat head coach Rommel Abella.
“Going into training, we were cautious with her. Pero she showed heart kahit sobrang gassed out na niya,” Abella said.
American winger Michelle Strizak contributed 24 points, while Jeanette Panaga added nine to pace the Lady Warriors.
Pocari Sweat take on Creamline on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. A win there will almost assure them of a spot in the semis.
Middle blocker Jocemer Tapic led Air Force with 19 points while Thai oppositie Patcharee Saengmuang managed 15.
The Lady Jet Spikers face the Perlas Spikers, also on Tuesday.
Pocari Sweat (3) – Pablo 28, Strizak 24, Panaga 9, Dadang 5, Nepomuceno 5, De Leon 3, Kasilag 3, Sy 2, Cayetano 0, Espelita 0, Gohing (L)
Air Force (2) – Tapic 19, Saengmuang 15, Antipuesto 14, Yongco 12, Cases 6, Semana 2, Mabbayad 1, Abanto (L), Balmaceda (L)