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Service, reception crucial for Pocari

Games Wednesday
11 a.m. – IEM vs Sta. Elena (for 3rd/S Turf)
2 p.m. – Air Force vs Cignal (for 1st/S Turf)
4 p.m. – BaliPure vs Laoag (for 3rd/V-L)
6:30 p.m. – Air Force vs Pocari (for 1st/V-L)

Pocari Sweat interim coach Rommel Abella has stressed the need for his wards to polish their service and toughen up on reception as they gear up for a clash with the top seeded Air Force side for the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference crown beginning tomorrow at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

One week after humbling the star-studded BaliPure

Water Defenders in a thrilling sudden death to clinch the other finals berth, the Lady Warriors look to getting back at the in-form Jet Spikers, who swept their Laoag Power Smashers in their side of the semis duel.

But Abella said they are the underdogs in the best-of-three title series of the season-opening conference sponsored by Shakey’s.

“I do think so, considering Air Force beat us in our first meeting,” said Abella referring to their 25-20, 17-25, 22-25, 15-25 defeat to the Lady Jet Spikers in the final elims playdate last June 27 that enabled the latter to gain the top seeding in the Final Four.

And the Jet Spikers lived up to the hype, dominating the Power Smashers to advance to the finals for the first time since Air Force joined the league where it all started a decade ago.

Abella, however, is confident his Lady Warriors will raise the level of their game come finals.

“We really played poorly against them the last time we played so we have to receive well and serve better,” said Abella.

He also took notice of his wards’ tendency to start slow.

“Despite our slow starts, we always keep coming back and heat up in time to win games,” said Abella. “But we can’t afford that against a veteran team like Air Force, we have to play strong early.”

For Myla Pablo, she hopes to sustain her strong showing in the conference backed by Mikasa and Accel.

“I know my teammates support me a lot, that’s why I want to reciprocate it by giving out my best,” said Pablo.

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