by Kristel Satumbaga
(The Arena, San Juan City)
6 p.m. – BaliPure vs Pocari
More than talent, it would be a battle of wits and mental toughness when BaliPure and Pocari Sweat dispute the Premier Volleyball League women’s crown today at The Arena in San Juan City.
The 6 p.m. confrontation is expected to be as thrilling as their first two duels which they split to forge a rubber match in the best-of-3 affair.
BaliPure has the momentum after averting a meltdown, 25-15, 26-24, 24-26, 24-26, 15-13, in Game 2 Tuesday, but Coach Roger Gorayeb won’t be placated until they have the trophy on their hands.
“Itong chance na ibinigay sa amin ngayon, napakalaki. Muntik na kaming mag-crumble. Kaya ayaw naming sayangin sa Game 3,” said Gorayeb, whose team is eyeing its first title in the league.
“Wala nang atrasan,” he added.
Gorayeb hopes to see the same strong composure that his stalwarts displayed in Game 2, where they fought point after point to gain the upperhand – and eventually the victory – in the deciding frame.
He will continue to rely on his imports, Thai Jeng Bualee and American Jennifer Keddy, to provide muscle and firepower in all departments after pumping in 20 points apiece the last time.
Offensive help will also come from NCAA three-time MVP Grethcel Soltones and Risa Sato, while libero Lizlee Ann Pantone will cover the floor.
Pocari, which won Game One, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22, 26-24, aims to lessen its errors after committing 37 that proved crucial in its Game 2 campaign.
American guest players Michelle Strizak and Krystal Rivers are slated to match BaliPure’s imports after combining for 40 points last Tuesday, but Pocari needs to keep its poise to close out the conference on a high note.
Pocari coach Rommel Abella also eyes Myla Pablo to join forces with its foreign reinforcements, while Jeanette Panaga and Desiree Dadang must double their efforts to fulfill the team’s goal of clinching a third title.
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