POCARI Sweat’s maiden season in the Shakey’s V-League was a fruitful one, winning the two championships that went up for grabs—the Open Conference a few months ago and the season-ending Reinforced Conference last Monday.
The Lady Warriors were tagged as the comeback kids to win the Open Conference crown and were dominant to capture the season-ending Reinforced Conference championship.
“It feels great. This was the goal we set for ourselves to start the season,” said Pocari Sweat coach Rommel Abella.
The Lady Warriors completed a two-game sweep of the Transformers with a 25-14, 25-10, 22-25, 25-23 Monday at the Philsports Arena.
Pocari Sweat became the second straight team in the league to capture the Open and Reinforced Conference titles, the other being PLDT which did the trick last season.
Everything was going on the Lady Warriors’ way, as this conference’s best foreign player Bre Mackie and middle blocker Andrea Kacsits were able to secure the needed International Transfer Certificates to play in the league, Fil-Am setter Iris Tolenada came back after a year-long absence and service specialist Shola Alvarez went available.
After losing its first game to an All-Filipino Philippine Air Force squad, Pocari Sweat settled down and reworked its approach to win it all.
The Lady Warriors won all their next 10 games, with Finals MVP Michelle Gumabao believing on her team’s capability to rise under pressure.
“That was tough (first loss). But alam kong kaya ng team. After that we worked really hard kasi we knew that the team that lost was far from the team we could be. It took a lot of sacrifices but mas masaya talaga kapag ganitong pinaghirapan,” said Gumabao.
Myla Pablo, who was the Open Conference Finals MVP as she led Pocari Sweat’s fightback from a 0-1 series deficit to win the crown, was blessed on this opportunity to get the second wind in her volleyball career.
After a tumultuous ending of her UAAP stint earlier this year, Pablo came back to engineer the Lady Warriors to success.
“Siyempre sobrang happy kasi lahat nang pagtiya-tiyaga namin nagbunga. Hindi basta-basta ‘yung pinagdaanan ng team lalo na noong simula,” said Pablo.
With its successful run on its first season in the 13-year old league, Pocari Sweat will still be a force to reckon with next year with an intact roster behind Gumabao and Pablo.