Pocari Sweat put away a pesky UST side with a fine display of power game and composure in the fifth set, hacking out a 25-17, 24-26, 26-24, 25-27, 15-8 decision to nail the first finals berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13-Reinforced Conference crown at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City on Monday.
Unike in their previous straight-set romps at the close of the elims and at the start of their best-of-three semifinal playoff, the Lady Warriors bumped into a determined UST side this time as the Tigresses battled back from a set down twice and fought off two match points in the fourth to send the match into a decider.
They even led at 4-2 in the fifth behind EJ Laure and Ria Meneses but the Lady Warriors re-asserted their might with import Breanna Lee Mackie shifting from attacking to dropping shots that produced three points, the last shoving Pocari to a 6-4 lead.
The Lady Warriors never wavered from there, moving to 9-5 and 12-6 before Myla Pablo sputtered with back-to-back attacking errors. But Kay Kacsits, the other Pocari reinforcement, scored on a tip-in, Pablo recovered with a down-the-line hit and Michelle Gumabao delivered an ace to take the set and the match in two hours and 12 minutes of top notch volleyball.
The victory, which came on the heels of Pocari’s 25-16, 25-18, 25-22 win in Game One Saturday, thus lined up the Lady Warriors for a second straight championship after beating the Air Force Jet Spikers to claim the Open Conference crown in their very first stint in the country’s premier women’s volley league sponsored by Shakey’s and backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter.
Mackie unleashed another brilliant game with 35 points, including 32 attack points, while Pablo added 11 markers and Gumabao and Elaine Kasilag added eight markers each and Kacsits and Desiree Dadang chipped in seven hits apiece.
Fil-Am playmaker Iris Tolenada added six points while producing 38 of her team’s 41 excellent sets for the Lady Warriors.
Pocari will meet the winner in the BaliPure-Customs duel being played at presstime.
Laure fired 24 hits, Cherry Rondina and Meneses came through with 17 and 11 points, respectively, for the Tigresses, who, despite the loss, still proved their worth in this import-laced tournament while playing with an all-Filipino crew.
With Mackie on the firing end, the Lady Warriors unloaded 64 attack points, 16 more than the Tigresses but the latter kept it close all throughout with their gutsy plays and superb blocking, which netted them 12 points to match the Lady Warriors’ defensive effort upfront.
UST also cashed in on Pocari’s shaky service reception, scoring 10 aces against the Lady Warriors’ six.
Earlier, Cignal repeated over Champion Supra, 25-20, 25-19, 25-20, to seal a title clash with Air Force in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Third Conference, also at Philsports.
The HD Spikers leaned on the troika of Lorenzo Capate Jr., Ysrael Marasigan and Raymark Wook, which combined for 33 hits, to blast the Active Smashers, who they edged, 26-28, 25-18, 17-25, 25-22, 16-14, in the opener of their best-of-three semis series last Saturday.
The Jet Spikers, led by Bryan Bagunas, Mark Alfafara and Howard Mojica, also duplicated their 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17 win over the Instituto Estetico Manila Volley Masters with a 25-23, 16-25; 25-12, 25-17 victory to seal a title clash with the HD Spikers.
Overall, Air Force finished with 57 spikes against IEM’s 35 and went 15-3 in kill-blocks.
Game One of the finals, also a best-of-three, starts tomorrow at 12:30 p.m.
10:30 a.m. – Champion Supra vs IEM (Spikers-for 3rd)
12:30 p.m. – Cignal vs Air Force (Spikers-for crown)