MANILA, Philippines – The Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors are looking to move on quickly from their stunning defeat to the Power Smashers in their first game in the Premier Volleyball League's Reinforced Conference.
The Lady Warriors were heavily favored, thanks to their star-studded line-up, but the Power Smashers instead turned the tables on them for a surprisingly easy 25-9, 25-22, 25-21 victory last Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Arellano University pair of Regine Arocha and Jovelyn Prado shone all game long, combining for 21 points. The Power Smashers simply had more pep in their step, going after balls with gusto while the Lady Warriors appeared sluggish.
"Tingin namin, gusto nila maglaro, pero ayaw nila manalo," Pocari coach Rommel Abella told reporters after the game. "Kasi sabi ko nga sa kanila, if they wanted to win 'yung game kanina, gagalaw kami. But obviously, hindi sila gumalaw kanina."
[They wanted to play, but not to win. I told them that if they wanted to win the game, then they would have performed better. But they didn't.]
Abella acknowledged that the lack of imports was a factor. Pocari has been training with Edina Selimovic and Michelle Strizak for at least two months now, only for their debuts to be delayed due to issues with their international transfer certificates.
However, Abella pointed out that the Power Smashers were playing without imports as well. He also admitted that the veteran Pocari squad may have underestimated the younger Power Smashers, whom they handled with ease during their V-League campaign last year.
They know they cannot use these factors as excuses, however.
"Sabi ko nga sa kanila [I told them], we're not here just to play. We're here to defend the championship," said Abella, who helped the Lady Warriors win the Open Conference and Reinforced Conference titles in the V-League last year.
Instead, Abella simply chalked up the loss to an "off game" from his team and advised the Lady Warriors to put the defeat at the back of their minds.
"Off game lang namin ito," he said. "Sabi ko nga sa kanila, the way we practiced this past few weeks, hindi ganyan 'yung laro namin. It's just an off day for us."
"Champion teams are defined kung paano sila makabawi sa talo," he stressed.
[This is just an off game for us. With the way we practiced the past few weeks, we should have played better. It's just an off day for us. Champions teams are defined by how they bounce back from losses.]
Abella did commend the Power Smashers and their coach, Nes Pamilar, for a job well done, before again emphasizing that the Lady Warriors need to shift their focus to their next game.
"Itong game na ito, let's just forget about it and move on," he said. "We'll see sa next game namin."
Pocari will try to bounce back on Thursday against Pocari Sweat.
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