Myla Pablo returned to action and other Pocari Sweat locals provided much-needed support as the Lady Warriors outlasted Philippine Air Force, 21-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-14, 15-10, Saturday to open the quarterfinals of the Premier Volleyball League at FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The former National University standout played for the first time after skipping Pocari Sweat’s previous two matches – all losses – because of a back injury. She led the Lady Warriors’ assault in the deciding frame and had plenty of help from Jeannette Panaga and American import Michelle Strizak.
Pablo exploded for 28 points anchored on 25 attacks and three kill blocks for the Lady Warriors.
Strizak had 22 kills in a 24-point performance, 16 short of her league-record 40 points in Pocari Sweat’s five-set defeat to the Jet Spikers last Thursday at the end of the preliminary round that forced the Lady Warriors to take the long quarterfinals route for a chance to advance in the semifinals.
Panaga finished with nine points.
Fueled by a strong fourth set, Pocari Sweat raced to a 9-4 lead capped by an attack by Panaga in the deciding frame.
The Jet Spikers fought back with three straight points to close the gap, 9-7, but a service error by Joy Cases gave the Lady Warriors a window to burst a 5-2 counterattack capped by Strizak’s crosscourt kill for a 14-9 lead.
The Jet Spikers saved a match point but Cai Nepomuceno sealed the win with a booming kill.
Pocari Sweat will face Creamline on Tuesday.
The loss put Air Force in a dangerous spot in the short race for the last two best-of-three semifinals berths at stake for the right to face top seed BaliPure and Power Smashers.
Jocemer Tapic led the Jet Spikers with 19 points, Thai import Patcharee Saengmuang had 15 while Angel Antipuesto and Iari Yongco scored 14 and 12 markers, respectively.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)
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