Game changer: Jem Gutierrez steps up for Pacifictown Army in five-set win over BanKo

Head coach Kungfu Reyes called her the “game-changer” in their final game of the first round.

When the Pacifictown Army Lady Troopers had their backs against the wall after the BanKo Perlas Spikers led them two sets to one, Reyes looked at his bench for possible solutions.

Former University of Santo Tomas player Jem Gutierrez subbed in for veteran Honey Royse Tubino, as Pacifictown Army looked to solve their deficit in the fourth set and extend the game to a decider.

Reyes’ gamble proved to be worth it as Gutierrez sparked a comeback for the Lady Troopers, eventually winning the game in five sets, 25-22, 23-25, 27-29, 25-20, 15-7, earlier in the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

Despite starting only in the fourth set, Gutierrez proved vital to the Pacifictown Army’s offensive arsenal, scoring seven points and providing the much-needed boost for her team.

Meanwhile, foreign reinforcements Jenelle Jordan and Olena Lymareva-Flink led the team with 23 and 19 points respectively.

Gutierrez’s contribution greatly helped the cause of the Lady Troopers who finished the first round in the upper half of the team standings with a 3-2 win-loss slate.

Reyes praised Gutierrez for quality minutes despite being only brought in late, noting her stellar showing both in offense and defense.

“Siguro nakatadhana ‘tong fifth set namin ngayon para mabunot namin si Jem, kasi nauudlot lang ‘yung pagpasok niya e, pero this time, nabigyan siya ng opportunity para magamit,” Reyes said.

 

“Very thankful kami sa kanya, at least meron siyang reward sa sarili niya–nararamdaman niya mismo na kapag pinagpupursigihan mo ang isang bagay, may magandang maibubunga,” he added.

Spending most of the game at the sidelines, Gutierrez said she observed how the Perlas Spikers defended so she could find her sweet spot when she was subbed in.

She further added how important this game was for the Lady Troopers in order to gain better footing in the team standings.

“Napansin ko kasi sa game na dapat i-down the line, kaya lahat ng palo ko, ganon. Nung ako na ‘yung pinasok, nag-mindset na ako na basta set sa akin, paluin ko lang ng down the line kasi ‘yun ‘yung porsiyento,” Gutierrez said.

 

“Inisip ko din na must win ‘tong game na ‘to, kasi para sa rankings, mataas kami,” she added.

In their previous post-game interviews, Reyes noted how the Lady Troopers always aimed to finish the game as fast as they could, given their veteran-laden lineup.

Falling victim to the tournament’s first five-setter match, the head coach said he was glad to have someone like Gutierrez step up for the team.

“Siya na ‘yung game changer namin–almost a hundred percent ng atake, patay, pati depensa nakakakuha. Para sa’yo ‘tong araw na ‘to,” Reyes said to Gutierrez.

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