Following two consecutive five-set losses, the Pocari Sweat-Air Force Lady Warriors finally eked out a close win, slipping past the BanKo Perlas Spikers, 16-25, 26-24, 18-25, 25-23, 15-13, PVL Open Conference at the Baliwag Star Arena.
The Lady Warriors needed to earn each of their set win by the slimmest of margins. Escaping the fourth set, Pocari Sweat clung to consistent two-point lead throughout the decider.
Middle blocker Del Palomata came up huge in the final set. The six-foot-three Lady Warrior first broke rhythm with a quick hit that ended a long rally and put her squad up, 14-12. With BanKo threatening to extend after a Joy Dacoron slide, Palomata struck again, snuffing out an over-passed ball to clinch the win.
“Sabi ko nga sa mga middles namin na kapag gumana sila, talagang malayo ang mararating namin,” said Pocari Sweat captain Myla Pablo about Palomata, who finished with 10 points.
Two-time league MVP Pablo topped all scorers with 24 points to go with 10 digs. Opposite hitter Iari Yongco added 17 markers.
Pocari Sweat ends the first round with a 4-3 record.
Ateneo standout Dzi Gervacio towed Perlas with 23 points, while former University of the Philippines Lady Maroon Kathy Bersola added 15.
After winning their first five matches, BanKo surrendered their last two first round outings.
Pocari Sweat-Air Force (3) – Pablo 24, Yongco 17, Panaga 13, Palomata 10, Cases 1, Kasilag 1, Pantino 1, Semana 1, Balmaceda (L), Tempiatura (L)
BanKo (2) – Gervacio 23, Bersola 15, Roces 13, Tiamzon 9, Emnas 3, Ahomiro 0, De Jesus (L), Tan (L)
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