Pocari seeks solo lead vs Power Smashers

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Perlas-BanKo Nicole Tiamzon (right) blasts in a kill over Pocari Sweat’s Jeanette Panaga (left) and Jorella de Jesus during their PVL Open Conference duel at the Filoil Flying V-Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Defending champion Pocari Sweat shoots for a third straight victory and the solo lead as it tangles with the Power Smashers today (Saturday) in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.

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Reinforced Conference Finals MVP Myla Pablo is expected to lead the Lady Warriors again in their 6:30 p.m. duel with the Power Smashers following her 23-hit performance in their 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 28-26 win over the Perlas BanKo Spikers last Wednesday that kept them tied with the Creamline Cool Smashers in the lead at 2-0.

“We know she can play like this on a consistent basis so we expect another big game from her,” said Pocari coach Rico de Guzman, referring to the power-hitting former National U star, who has churned out a 20.5-point norm in the early going of the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.

Pocari kicked off its drive for a fourth straight championship in the tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics with a 21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21 victory over University of the Philippines last Sunday but the Lady Warriors also expect a big bounce back by the Power Smashers, who dropped a 15-25, 25-22, 25-20, 19-25, 6-15 decision to the BaliPure Water Defenders, also Sunday.

Power Smashers mentor Nes Pamilar, however, said his team is still in search of a leader.

“My players are still young and are still learning. I hope we could find a leader as they grow in the PVL,” said Pami-lar.

Meanwhile, BaliPure, which split its first two games, hopes to rebound from a stinging 19-25, 30-28, 19-25, 31-29 setback to Creamline last Wednesday as it takes on a young UP side at 4 p.m.in a game that saw Cool Smashers captain Alyssa Valdez unleashing a conference-high 37 hits.

Despite their loss to the Cool Smashers that saw top hitter Alyssa Valdez hammer in 37 hits, the Reinforced Con-ference losing finalists remain confident of their chances on a team built around three-time NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones, Jerrilli Malabanan, and former NU mainstays Risa Sato, Aiko Urdas and setter Jasmine Nabor, who has averaged eight hits and 59 excellent sets in the first two games.

In the men’s league, Cignal and Sta. Elena clash at 10 a.m. while Café Lupe and Instituto Estetico Manila collide at 1 p.m. in a duel of winless teams.

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