POCARI Sweat went through the wringer to upend a hard-fighting University of Santo Tomas side, 25-17, 24-26, 26-24, 25-27, 15-8, and clinch the first Finals berth in the Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference last night at the Philsports Arena.
The Lady Warriors swept the best-of-three series, 2-0, but they needed to summon their vast experience to eliminate the Tigresses, the lone collegiate team in the season-ending conference.
“Talagang ibinigay nila ang lahat,” said skipper Michelle Gumabao, whose service ace sealed the win for Pocari Sweat.
The Lady Warriors were at match point, 25-24, on a Bre Mackie kill when the Tigresses scored three straight points, two of which came from Chloe Cortez to send the game to a deciding frame.
“Very gritty talaga sila and it goes with the coach,” said Pocari Sweat mentor Rommel Abella, who pulled one off against his buddy and former UST teammate Kungfu Reyes.
Mackie fired a personal season-high 35 points, including two service aces, the second best behind Alyssa Valdez’s record 39 hits while Myla Pablo added 11 points for the Lady Warriors.
EJ Laure came through with 24 markers while Cherry Rondina added 17 points for the Tigresses.
Despite the loss, Abella believes that UST is more than ready in the UAAP Season 79 wars beginning in January.
Pocari Sweat took a 2-1 set lead, thanks to their superb blocking with Desiree Dadang foiling Laure twice for the set point.
The Lady Warriors also downed the Tigresses, 25-16, 25-18, 25-22, in last Saturday’s opener.
Pocari Sweat’s other American guest player Kay Kacsits was not fielded in the first two sets as she brought a wrong set of uniform.
In the Spikers’ Turf, Cignal defeated Champion Supra, 25-20, 25-19, 25-20, to force another title showdown with Philippine Air Force.