P Smashers strike back, force decider

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nable to sustain their fightback from 0-2 down the first time out, the Power Smashers did it this time, pulling off a heart-stopping come-from-behind 24-26, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-13 victory over the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors to force a decider in their semifinal series in the Premier Volleyball League at the Philsports Arena in Pasig last night.

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Regine Rocha set up for a kill but opted for an off-speed attack instead, catching the Lady Warriors’ defense off-guard and shattering a 13-all count in the fifth set then Thai import Kannika Tipachot scored on a drop shot to complete the steal of a win in another five-setter that has marked the semis of the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.

Pocari’s Myla Pablo tips the ball over to the Power Smashers during during their semifinal duel with the Power Smashers in the PVL Reinforced Conference yesterday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

They meet again tomorrow with the winner advancing to the best-of-three championship against the winner of the other semis duel between BaliPure and Creamline.

Like in Game One of their best-of-three series, which Pocari won, 25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 22-25, 15-12, the Power Smashers dropped the first two sets again but won the next two. But they hung tough this time, taking control of the decider then fending off the defending champions’ last-ditch rally to win in two hours

The Power Smashers surged to 10-6 on back-to-back miscues by the Lady Warriors but the latter refused to give up and took six of the next eight points to force a tie at 12.

But the Power Smashers proved steadier this time with Tipachot hammering in a kill to regain the lead. And after Desiree Dadang knotted the count in the next play, Rocha and Tipachot took over and deliver the marginal hits.

“We were very happy (with the win). We didn’t expect but we were determine to get back at Pocari,” said playmaker Alina Bicar, who produced 37 excellent sets to bag the game’s top honors.

It was a sorry setback for the Lady Warriors, who looked headed for a big win after sweeping the first two frames. But after a listless third set performance, they wavered at endgame in the fourth and struggled in the early going of the fifth.

Earlier, second seed Cignal HD got back at Sta. Elena and fashioned out a 25-17, 25-19, 25-22 victory to send their best-of-three semis series into a rubber match in the men’s side of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.

Top seed Air Force likewise exacted revenge against Army, scoring a 25-17, 25-18, 25-20, romp to force a decider for the other finals berth.

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