Pablo relishes Pocari triumph after injury-filled campaign

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Myla Pablo is the Finals MVP of the PVL Reinforced Conference. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – For veteran spiker Myla Pablo, her third club championship with the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors was the sweetest of them all, considering the journey they took to get to the top.

Pablo was a crucial part of Pocari’s championship runs in the Open and Reinforced Conferences in the Shakey’s V-League last year, but she was asked to do so much more in their campaign in the Reinforced Conference of the inaugural Premier Volleyball League.

With their imports sidelined for the entire first round due to a snafu with their International Transfer Certificates (ITCs), Pablo was asked to do more heavy lifting on offense. When their imports finally got clearance to play, Pablo succumbed to a back injury that forced her to sit out a few games in the eliminations.

“Ang dami naming napagdaanan talaga,” Pablo said Thursday, after scoring 16 points in Pocari Sweat’s 20-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-19 victory over the Bali Pure Water Defenders in the do-or-die Game 3 of their Finals series.

“‘Yung import namin, na-injure,” she related, referring to Edina Selimovic, who suffered a hamstring injury late in the elims. “And then ayun nga, si Krystal (Rivers), late na nakapasok. So for me, kailangan ang mga locals, mag-step up talaga.”

(We went through so much. One of our imports, Edina Selimovic, got injured, and her replacement, Krystal Rivers, could only play in the Finals. We knew that as locals, we needed to step up.)

Pablo had refused to let her injury slow her down, returning with a vengeance in the quarterfinals. She was superb in the Finals against the Water Defenders, coming up with timely hits while more than holding her own on offense. Targeted repeatedly by the Bali Pure servers, Pablo came up with 14 excellent receptions in Game 3.

“Iniisip ko na after ng injury ko, babawi ako sa team ko,” Pablo said in a TV interview after winning the title.

“Worth it naman po ang training namin araw-araw,” she added later, as confetti fell upon her and her teammates at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

(I wanted to make it up to my team after I suffered an injury… Our daily training was worth it.)

Pablo’s gutsy performances earned her the Finals MVP trophy, which Pocari Sweat coach Rommel Abella said was “a long time coming.”

“She’s been consistent all throughout the conference,” Abella said of Pablo, who signed a five-year contract with Pocari Sweat in the offseason.

“Kahit noong past championships namin, consistent naman ang production niya. And she’s also one of our main spikers, alam naman niya ‘yun. Good thing ‘yung consistency niya, andoon pa rin hanggang ngayon,” he added.

(Even in our past championships, her production was consistent. She knows that she’s one of our main spikers, and it’s good that her consistency continued until now.)

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