PVL: Air Force upsets Pocari Sweat in 5 sets

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Philippine Air Force spoiled Pocari Sweat American import Michelle Strizak’s 40-point explosion with a huge five-set upset. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA — Philippine Air Force arrested a seven-game slump as the Jet Spikers spoiled Pocari Sweat’s outright semifinals entry with a hard-earned, 25-19, 24-26, 25-27, 25-21, 15-6, Thursday to close the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference prelims on a high note.

Thai import Patcharee Saengmuang led the Jet Spikers’ assault in the five-set match at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan, capping her scoring spree with back-to-back hits to seal the victory.

Air Force closed the prelims with a 2-8 win-loss record and bagged the much-needed morale-boosting win as the Jet Spikers head into the dangerous round robin quarterfinals starting Saturday.

“Siguro maganda ang gising sabay-sabay ng mga bata,” said Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez. “Sinabi ko sa kanila na gawin lang natin sa laro ang ginagawa natin sa practice kasi sunud-sunod na ang ating talo.” 

Saengmuang scored 27 points and had plenty of support from the locals as Joy Cases finished with 21 markers, while Jocemer Tapic and Iari Yongco chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively, for Air Force. 

The Jet Spikers broke open a hairline, 3-2, lead in the deciding frame with a 6-2 scoring blast for a 9-4 lead.

Pocari Sweat, which played sans injured Bosnian import Edina Selimovic (hamstring tear), stopped the bleeding with a hit by American reinforcement Michelle Strizak but another scorching run capped by Cases’ two straight service gems gave Air Force a 13-5 cushion. Strizak answered with an attack but Saengmuang completed an upset with her parting pair of missiles.

The Lady Warriors dropped their second straight match to slide to 6-4 card. Top local hitter Myla Pablo was in uniform but skipped her second straight match because of a back injury.

Pocari Sweat will follow Bali Pure straight in the best-of-three semis if Perlas and the Power Smashers lose their last prelims games. 

Strizak’s league-high 40 points anchored on 38 attacks came into naught after another painful loss for the Lady Warriors. Jeannette Panaga had eight points while Cai Nepomuceno and Elaine Kasilag combined for 14.

This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.



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