Down two sets to none and with the third set knotted at 23-all, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors were in dire need of a spark plug, a complimentary piece that would supplement the all-out effort ace spiker Myla Pablo had been giving against the Philippine Air Force, Wednesday afternoon.
“Kahit sino naman, saang team, kung nakikita mo ‘yung team mo na walang mag-i-step up na isa, kung sino ang tutulong kay Myla, ‘yun lang ang hinahanap ko,” recalled first-year Pocari Sweat head coach Rico de Guzman.
But that’s the reason why the defending Women’s Open Conference champions had tapped the services of incoming Far Eastern University super-senior Heather Guino-o during the tail-end of the elimination round.
The 5-foot-7 opposite spiker dished out back-to-back aces to close out the third set. And it got the ball rolling for the Lady Warriors, as they rallied back against Air Force and gutted out a five-set win to advance to their fourth straight V-League Finals.
“Actually noong sa third set, all-23, dalawang service ni Heather, malaking bagay sa amin yun. Nabuhayan yung team ko, nabuhayan sila doon sa dalawang service ni Heather,” added De Guzman, who is an enlisted Army personnel.
“Lagi ko ngang sinasabihan [si Heather]. Napaka-tahimik na bata, pumapalo, rume-receive, nagse-serve, walang sinasabi. Kada timeout, sinasabi ko, ‘Magsalita ka, walang bayad.’ So siya yung bumuhay doon sa team. Siya yung tumulong kay Myla.”
Maybe it was just part of her persona to let her game do the talking, or maybe it was just her fourth full game for the stacked Pocari Sweat team. But for the native of Imus, Cavite, she is just thankful to have delivered for her new “ates”.
“Siyempre tinry ko yung sinasabi nila coach, ng mga ate ko na mag-ingay po ako, i-enjoy ko lang po,” said Guino-o, who finished with 14 points, including four from service aces.
“Feel free lang na gumalaw, ganoon lang yung ginagawa ko. Wala nga nawala, tapos mas nakatulong pa po ako sa team.”
But maybe, Guino-o was the breath of fresh air that the Lady Warriors needed, a team that is filled with alpha females from top to bottom.
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