The Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors’ quest for back-to-back titles came closer as the Lady Warriors survived a pesky University of Santo Tomas Tigresses 25-17, 24-26, 26-24, 27-25, 15-8 to complete their sweep of the 2016 Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference semifinals at the PhilSports Arena.
The opening set went smoothly for the All-Filipino Conference champs, stifling UST’s attack on the serve and block. The Lady Dubs had their largest lead, 17-8, thanks to three straight hits from Brea Mackie who delivered Pocari Sweat to the easy set win.
The Lady Warriors seemed to have control of the second frame, leading 23-17 after a spell of calculated Iris Tolenada serves. But the Tigresses rallied back, countering with their own string of targeted serves from Cherry Rondina. Pocari gave up two costly errors that knotted the set at 23, eventually dragging into a deuce. Pocari Sweat then gave up another hitting error which UST setter Alina Bicar followed with a set-winning serve.
UST again clawed back in the third set, toppling a 13-17 deficit to get first crack at set point 24-22. The Lady Warriors managed to fight back with Desiree Dadang nabbing three clutch blocks that gave Pocari Sweat the 2-1 lead.
The Tigresses again refused to die in the fourth frame, tailing Pocari Sweat closely all the way into a deuce. Ej Laure and Chloe Cortez tag-teamed on UST’s last three points to force a decider.
As strong as they started, Pocari Sweat finished the match with gusto, tacking on an 11-6 flurry and never looking back. A thunderous block-kill by Gumabao became the finals-clinching point for the Lady Dubs.
Mackie towed the Pocari offense with 35 points while Myla Pablo added 11 markers.
“UST really gave us a challenge and I thought we needed that heading into the Finals. Our goal was to prepare for them and adjust to whatever they threw at us. I’m glad we were able to execute lalo noong dulo,” said Pocari Sweat team captain Michele Gumabao who contributed eight points and 11 digs.
Laure tallied a 24 points for the Tigresses while Rondina managed 17 markers.
Pocari’s opponent and the Finals schedule will be determined once the Bali Pure-Bureau of Customs series concludes.
Pocari Sweat (3) – Mackie 35, Pablo 11, Gumabao 8, Kasilag 8, Dadang 7, Kacsits 7, Tolenada 6, Espelita 0, Nepomuceno 0, Sy 0, Gohing (L)
UST (2) – Laure 24, Rondina 17, Meneses 11, Francisco 7, Cortez 6, Bicar 1, Cabanos 1, Lastimosa 1, Viray 1, Rasmo (L), Rivera (L)
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