It didn’t take long for Pocari Sweat to get over a championship hangover and get going.
The Lady Warriors bucked a slow start and foiled the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, 21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21, to set in motion their drive for a fourth straight championship in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City on Sunday.
It was only Pocari Sweat’s first game in the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision but the Lady Warriors would rather start right than go through another uphill battle in the recent Reinforced Confer-ence where they dropped their first two games and had to struggle to recover before pull it through.
The young Lady Maroons, playing minus their former aces and now Perlas-BanKo standouts Kat Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon, surprised their fancied rivals with a strong start and a gutsy finish to steal the opening frame. But the Lady Warriors, still on a high after bagging its third straight title two weeks ago, put their act together in time and impose their will on the net, outhitting the Diliman-based squad to sweep the next three.
Veterans Myla Pablo, Elaine Kasilag and Cai Nepumoceno provided the firepower while the rest, led by libero Mel Gohing, backed them up with and the solid floor defense as the Lady Warriors responded to new coach Rico de Guzman to fashion out the win and join Creamline and Air Force in the early lead.
Pablo, the 2017 Reinforced Conference Finals MVP, unleashed a team-best 18 hits, including 16 attack points, to lead the Lady Warriors’ surge from the second set on.
“We had a slow start but the players didn’t panic and adjusted well,” said de Guzman, who took over from Rommel Abella during the break.
Earlier, Reinforced Conference champion Cignal HD used it power to blast Café Lupe, 25-19, 25-18, 25-13, and join opening day winners newcomer Megabuilders and defending titlist Air Force in the early lead in the men’s side.
Sta. Elena later joined the Cignal, Megabuilders and Air Force on top with a 25-16, 25-20, 25-21 romp over Instituto Estetico Manila.