Lady Warriors, Water Defenders race for pivotal Game 1 win

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American import Michelle Strizak of Pocari Sweat will try to help the Lady Warriors draw first blood in their best-of-three Finals series against BaliPure.

Pocari Sweat hopes to continue its title romp as the Lady Warriors begin their quest for the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference crown against BaliPure on Saturday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series begins at 6:30 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream. 

Winners of two titles in the V-League last year, the Lady Warriors eye to add another championship in their collection and cement their reputation as one of winningest club teams in the country.

Pocari Sweat secured a Finals berth after dominating the Power Smashers, 19-25, 22-25, 21-25, last Thursday in their best-of-three semifinals series decider.

The Lady Warriors will have another weapon in their arsenal as American import Krysral Rivers, a prolific power-hitting scorer from Alabama, debuts for Pocari Sweat.

Rivers, a replacement for injured Bosnian middle Edina Selimovic (right hamstring tear), received her clearance to play from the FIVB last Thursday. Her presence makes the Lady Warriors an even more dangerous team. 

The 5-foot-11 opposite hitter adds more firepower to a squad already boasting of a solid lineup led by American Michelle Strizak, Myla Pablo, Jeannette Panaga, Desiree Dadang, Cai Nepomuceno, top setter Gyzelle Sy and veteran libero Mel Gohing.  

“Malaking factor din ‘yun, with Krystal on board, malaking bagay na dalawa ang imports mo, not only sa psychological aspect sa kalaban din, but sa amin din kasi ‘yung morale ng mga players, nabu-boost,” said Pocari Sweat mentor Rommel Abella.

But BaliPure is no pushover.

The Water Defenders fended off crowd-favorite Creamline in an emphatic, 18-25, 13-25, 16-25, semis Game 3 rout.

BaliPure has an equally dangerous lineup led by American import Jennifer Keddy, Thai reinforcement Jeng Bualee and a mix of young and talented players in hitter Grethcel Soltones, Jerrili Malabanan, Risa Sato and setter Jasmine Nabor.

The two squads split their preliminary round head-to-head.

Game 2 is on Tuesday while Game 3, if needed, is on Thursday.

 

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