The Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors improved to a 5-0 record in the 13th season of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference after dismantling the Iriga City Lady Oragons in four sets, 25-16, 25-18, 24-26, 25-20, Saturday afternoon at the Ateneo Blue Eagle Gym.
The Lady Oragons jumped off to a hot start in the early goings of the first set, taking a quick 3-0 lead over the Lady Warriors. They were able to maintain this lead until midway through the set, where a 5-0 run by Pocari Sweat put them into a two-point deficit 14-12.
Pocari Sweat dominated the set from that moment on. With the team’s middle blockers, Lutgarda Malaluan and Desiree Dadang roaming the net, the Lady Oragons were only able to score four more points for the rest of the set. The Lady Warriors notched 6 block points to Iriga’s 0 in the set
The Lady Warriors were unable to carry their momentum at the start of the second set as Iriga was able to keep pace early on. Iriga, however, was unable to maintain their composure, surrendering multiple errors, allowing Pocari Sweat to take control of the set. Pocari Sweat’s Elaine Kasilag made Iriga pay, scoring three straight points to put her team at a 22-15 advantage. Iriga attempted to stay alive, but consecutive errors eventually ended the set.
The third set opened up similarly to the second, with neither team able to maintain a sizeable advantage. Unlike the second set, however, the third saw Iriga pull away midway through. Iriga took advantage of a sputtering Pocari Sweat offense, going on a 6-0 run aided by three Lady Warriors errors for a 15-10 lead. Maricar Nepomuceno of Pocari Sweat attempted to pull her team back into the game, scoring on three straight service aces to cut the deficit to a single point, 18-17. Both teams battled it out, eventually settling on a 24-all tie before two Grazielle Bombita scored off the block, and a Pocari Sweat error ended the set for Iriga. Pocari Sweat’s 15 errors in the set contributed to more than half of Iriga’s points.
The Lady Oragons rode their momentum in the fourth set, jumping to a 6-3 lead care of Arianne Pacardo scoring multiple times off the block. Pocari Sweat fought back, and with Malaluan notching multiple block kills, took an 8-6 lead over their opponent. Pacardo and Shola Alvarez jumpstarted Iriga’s offense as they were able to take a slim 10-9 lead over Pocari Sweat. The Lady Warriors were quick to bounce back, going on a 10-3 run spearheaded by Rosann Fajardo. From there, Kasilag took the reigns from her teammate, scoring four of the final six points of the Lady Warriors.
Kasilag earned player of the game honors, scoring a team high 17 points with 11 attacks, 4 aces, and 2 blocks. Malaluan, Nepomuceno, and Fajardo pitched in 12 points apiece.
Alvarez led the way for Iriga, scoring 15 points off of 11 spikes and 4 aces, while Grazielle Bombita pitched in 14, and Pacardo notched 9.
Despite missing team captain Michele Gumabao and their main offensive weapon, Myla Pablo due to injuries, Pocari Sweat still maintains a spotless record, and assistant coach Rommel Abella believes it is due to the overall composition of the team.
“I believe in them, very capable naman yung players, kaya namin sila kinuha. Hindi ako masyadong kinakabahan kapag sila yung nasa loob. Ang nawawala lang naman sa amin siguro is yung leadership ni Michele.”
Pocari Sweat’s next opponent will be the Bali Pure Purest Water Defenders on Saturday, June 25, 6:30 at the Philsports Arena. Iriga, meanwhile, go up against the UP Lady Maroons on Monday, June 20, 4:00pm at the San Juan Arena.
POC (3) – Kasilag 17, Fajardo 12, Nepomuceno 12, Malaluan 12, Dadang 4, Sy 4, Vargas 3, Alkuino 2, Baliton 1, Gohing L.
IRG (1) – Alvarez 15, Bombita 14, Pacardo 9, Bombita 3, Cabriana 3, Eniong 2, Levina 2, Guab 1, Faurillo 1, Pacino L.