MANILA -- Both teams with imports lost: Pocari Sweat in five sets to Philippine Air Force (PAF) and BaliPure in four sets to the University of Santo Tomas (UST).
In both cases, you can point to chemistry as both clubs haven’t had much time training together and it showed. However, BaliPure took it one step further with a poor pick up job by Ronald Toyco in the place of Anusorn Bundit who was en route to the Philippines from a quick trip to Thailand.
Pocari Sweat, in its loss to Philippine Air Force, battled poor reception and spotty setting. Melissa Gohing had an uncharacteristic troubled outing while back-up libero Rica Enclona didn’t have it easy as well. The team overall had a tough time against an inspired PAF team that now had a full line-up as opposed to their opening day loss to Laoag when Judy Caballejo and Jennifer Manzano were unavailable.
Setter Iris Tolenada did well but took too many risks and gambles when she opted to hit rather than set up teammates. Myla Pablo looked like an inspired substitution for Rommel Abella but she later faltered. Were it not for the game of Breanna Mackie, the Lady Warriors might have been bundled out in three sets.
BaliPure, despite taking the first set, fell apart with some poor backrow defending and poor use of the bench. When players began to falter with their body language all wrong, hardly any substitutions were made. There was the inspired sub for Ella De Jesus in the second set but when UST adjusted, someone else should have been given an opportunity. Mae Tajima came in very late and by then there wasn’t much left for the Purest Water Defenders.
BaliPure ran into a very good UST team that was close to firing on all cylinders. With more weapons and much improved floor defense, the Golden Tigresses faced a stern test and came out with flying colors. Yes, they are for real.
Furthermore, the reason why I said they are close to firing on all cylinders is because star spiker Cherry Rondina has yet to suit up as she was participating in the UAAP Beach Volleyball tournament (where she helped her school to a second successive title). As of today she’s ready to go when the Golden Tigresses battle another very good team in the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons.
In contrast, UST head coach Kungfu Reyes was all over his team, encouraging, cajoling, and laying it on players who weren’t bringing it. Every single player who suited up that day got to play. Three BaliPure players didn’t get to step on the court (it would have been four but Tajima was sent in very late).
The wins were good for the all-Filipino sides while it sent the two import-reinforced clubs with a notice that much work has to be done
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.