June 24, 2017, 3:06 am
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Lady Warriors outlast Water Defenders, keep lead

POCARI Sweat got back at BaliPure in style yesterday, battling back from two sets down and overcoming a 9-11 deficit in the fifth to pound out an 18-25, 21-25, 26-24, 27-25, 15-13 victory and solidify its lead in the Premier Volleyball League at The Arena in San Juan.

The imports finally suited up after FIVB cleared their International Transfer Certificates Wednesday night and they dominated the match marked by crisp hits and solid blocking, with Michelle Strizak coming through with a powerful spike off a superb receive to finish off the Water Defenders.

Pocari avenged its straight-sets loss to BaliPure the first time out and stretched its winning run to six after dropping its first two games, solidifying its hold of the lead heading to the final stretch of the double round eliminations of the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.

The Water Defenders dropped to 4-2 but remained in second, their bid for a repeat fizzling out with wavering finishes in the last three sets.

The defending champions actually didn’t only overcome two early set deficits but also the sidelining of top local hitter Myla Pablo, who grimaced in pain after an attack that tied the count at 11 in the second set, complaining of a back injury. She was rushed to Cardinal Santos Medical Center.

Down by the two sets and without Pablo, the Lady Warriors also rallied late in the third and fourth sets, forcing and winning deuced points to send the match into a decider.

BaliPure took the first three points and held on to an 11-9 lead on a block and a hit before Pocari Sweat unleashed a strong finishing kick anchored on Elaine Kasilag and imports Edina Selimovic and Strizak, winning six of the last eight points to pull off the reversal.

Selimovic finished with a game-high 24 hits, including 17 attack points, while Strizak added 16 kills, and Kasilag and Jeanette Panaga combined for 25 points for the defending champions.

Jennifer Keddy topscored for BaliPure with 21 hits while Grethcel Soltones backed her up with 18 markers and Thai veteran reinforcement added 17.

Earlier, Air Force shocked Army 25-22, 25-20, 27-25, to improve to 2-1 in the men’s tournament of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics. The Troopers, who swept their first two matches, fell to their second straight defeat.
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