‘Imperfect’ Pocari run ends with V-L crown
AN IMPERFECT run with a perfect ending.
That’s how Pocari Sweat star Michele Gumabao summed up the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference that saw the Lady Warriors rise and fall before bouncing back one last time to capture the championship.
“We’ve been through so much on and off the court,” said Gumabao. “We’ve proven that we are a team and a family and we really worked hard. [This] championship just made it all better.”
Showing tenacity yet again, the Lady Warriors outlasted Philippine Air Force, 29-27,18-25, 25-21, 25-19, in the do-or-die Game 3 Monday night to complete their comeback from a 0-1 series deficit.
It wasn’t the first time the Lady Warriors stood at the brink of elimination as they also climbed out of a 0-1 hole in their best-of-three semifinal duel against the star-studded Bali Pure.
Another heartbreak came in the eliminations when the Lady Warriors absorbed their first loss against the Jet Spikers on the last day of the round-robin contest.
“This season may not be perfect, but in the end it was,” said Gumabao.
It wasn’t just the Lady Warriors who bagged the crown right on their league debut as Pocari coach Rommel Abella also steered a team to the title for the first time.
“This is really my first team as head coach and [the players] weren’t hard to coach,” said Abella, who leaned on Gumabao, Elaine Kasilag and Finals Most Valuable Player Myla Pablo.
“I treated them as friends. When I give them instructions, it’s not like I was the boss and I think it worked.”
For the Jet Spikers, a runner-up finish isn’t that bad as they also surpassed their previous best at fourth place.
“I’m very proud, very thankful that they didn’t just give up,” said Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez. “But I guess the best thing to do now is to make sure that we bounce back next time.”
The title run similarly gave the Lady Warriors some lessons.
“I think the number one problem we had as a team was we wanted the easy way out,” said Gumabao. “But it wasn’t meant to be. We were meant to go through the process because that will make us stronger.” With a report from Mikaela Calilong and Miguel de Leon
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