PVL: Pocari Sweat guns for title clincher against Bali Pure

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Pocari Sweat looks to wrap up its best-of-3 series against Bali Pure. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – With Krystral Rivers expected to play even better in her second game, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors are going all out to sweep Bali Pure in the Finals of the 2017 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference.

Game 2 of the best-of-3 series is on Tuesday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig, with the Lady Warriors looking to wrap up the championship.

Pocari Sweat fought back from a shaky start to beat the Water Defenders, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22, 26-24, in the series opener last Saturday.

Rivers, a former Division 1 player from University of Alabama, shook off early jitters to score 20 points in her first game in the PVL. Fellow import Michelle Strizak added 18 points, and the local players also came up with superb games as Pocari subdued the top-seeded Water Defenders.

However, Pocari Sweat fully expects Bali Pure to strike back in their 6:30 p.m. showdown, and the Lady Warriors vowed that they will be ready.

“Like what we experienced in our past games, we don’t have problems getting leads, but in sustaining them,” said Pocari coach Rommel Abella. “That’s what we need to address, especially the mental focus of the players.”

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to work on that in Game 2,” he added.

Pocari Sweat nearly blew two seven-point leads in the fourth set, and needed to fight back from 22-24 own to win the last four points, including a Grethcel Soltones error, two kill blocks, and an ace from Gyzelle Sy to clinch the win.

Abella also expects more the 5-foot-11 Rivers, who had 17 attack points on 44 attempts in Game 1.

“We’re not impressed with her game based on her performance during practice. We know she still has a lot to show,” the coach said. “We expect a few more surprises coming from her in the second game.”

But Bali Pure mentor Roger Gorayeb is expected to come up with adjustments to at least minimize Strizak and Rivers’ threats, while pinning his hopes on the trio of Jennifer Keddy, Jeng Bualee, and Soltones for their attack.

He also hopes to draw more from playmaker Jasmine Nabor, who had only 26 excellent sets, 12 fewer than counterpart Sy.

Meanwhile, Cignal HD likewise guns for a sweep of Air Force in their duel for the men’s crown at 12 noon while Sta. Elena and Creamline also try to wrap their own best-of-three series for third against Army and the Power Smashers at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.

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