Fresh from a championship in the Reinforced Conference, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors opened their title defense bid with a four set triumph over the rebuilding University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, 21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21, Sunday evening at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Last conference’s Finals MVP, Myla Pablo, led the charts once again with 18 points, 16 coming from attacks. Supporting her were Elaine Kasilag with 15 points and Kai Nepomuceno with 10 points.
“Kakayanin kong i-angat at madala sa finals uli ang Pocari. Natutuwa ako sa team, tinanggap nila ako bilang head coach at lahat ng tinuturo ko sinusunod nila. Wala namang pagbabago sa team ngayon, bukod sa former Head Coach Rommel Abella, hindi naman ako nahirapan hawakan ang team ngayon,” said debuting Pocari Sweat head coach Rommel Abella.
It was a neck-and-neck battle all game long, as the two teams would exchange leads and break deadlocks. But come the fourth set, Pocari started to lead up to five points, 15-10. Tots Carlos and Justine Dorog tried to neutralize the Lady Warriors with their attacks and came within 22-20, but Kasilag and Pablo silenced their young opponents to finish the match.
De Guzman is off to a good start with the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, and says they will work on polishing the girls’ reception more.
“Aaminin ko naman, sa first ball nahihirapan. Kahit nakaraang conference. Yun ang gusto kong baguhin sa kanila. Gusto ko ma-improve first ball nila. Kailangan lang mapaganda yung blocking at atakeng maganda.”
Tots Carlos led UP with 21 points, while Isa Molde chipped in 13 markers.
Pocari Sweat will next face Perlas-BanKo on Wednesday, July 5, at 4:00pm. The Lady Maroons, on the other hand, take on the Bali Pure Purest Water Defenders on Saturday, July 8. – By: Danine Cruz
Pocari Sweat (3) – Pablo 18, Kasilag 15, Nepomuceno 10, Panaga 8, Dadang 7, De Leon 4, Sy 3, Gohing (L) 2, Paran 1, Valdez 0, Cayetano 0, Doromal 0, Serafica 0.
UP (1) – Carlos 21, Molde 13, Dorog 9, Ramos 8, Layug 6, Gannaban 5, Cailing 1, Estranero 1, Rosier 0, Basarte 0, Sandoval 0, Alinas (L)