League-leading Pocari Sweat faced resistance from Iriga in their 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference match Saturday, getting pushed to 4 sets before prevailing at the Blue Eagle Gym in Quezon City.
Elaine Kasilag had 17 points while Kai Nepomuceno, Rossan Fajardo and Lut Malaluan each posted 12 markers for Pocari, who remained atop the standings with an unblemished 5-0 record after the 25-16, 25-18, 24-26, 25-20 win.
The leaders of the Lady Warriors, Michele Gumabao and Myla Pablo, were in uniform but did not see action for the second straight game.
Team manager Eric Ty said the 2 were already well enough to play for the Lady Warriors, but the coaching staff and management chose to give them an extra week of rest so they could be healthier when the team battles in the playoffs.
“Actually, they have recovered already,” he told FOX Sports. “As an extra precaution, we just want na extra one week rest pa. If you saw the warmup kanina, pumapalo na yung dalawa. They were spiking, serving. They’re 100% conditioned.”
Pocari could have used a little help from Gumabao and Pablo, as the Lady Oragons proved to be a tough nut to crack.
The Lady Warriors’ reception was brought to a test, with Iriga loading up on their serve in a bid to throw their opponents’ attack into a mess.
As a matter of fact, they were mildly successful, firing 13 aces before service errors doomed them late in the fourth set of their fourth loss in 5 matches.
But had the Lady Oragons pushed Pocari to the limit, Ty shared they would have pushed the emergency button and sent both Pablo and Gumabao to finish Iriga off.
“Kung ito umabot ng 5th set tapos 13 points (yung kalaban), pumasok yan,” he said.
Thankfully for the recovering players, their Lady Warriors teammates delivered in crunch time. — By Josiah Albelda