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Pocari opens with a win

Games Wednesday (The Arena, San Juan City)
10 a.m. – Café Lupe vs Megabuilders
1 p.m. – Sta. Elena vs Air Force
4 p.m. – Pocari Sweat vs Perlas-BanKo
6:30 p.m. – BaliPure vs Creamline

By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA

Reigning champion Pocari Sweat recovered from a rusty start as it bested an erratic University of the Philippines, 21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21, yesterday to start its title-retention campaign in the women’s division of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Lady Warriors reignited midway the second set, where they pulled away from a 10-all deadlock that set the tone for most parts of the match.

Myla Pablo anchored Pocari Sweat with her down-the-line kills and finished with 18 points including 16 attacks as the Lady Warriors joined early winners Hairy Fairy Air Force and Creamline atop the helm.

The win was also a rousing welcome for Pocari’s new coach, Rico De Guzman, who replaced the reins of Rommel Abella.

UP had a chance to snatch the momentum in the third frame after leading 9-6, but the Katipunan-based collegiate spikers fell into a maze of errors to lose the upperhand and eventually the set.

Pocari immediately dictated the tempo in the fourth with Pablo and Elaine Kasilag leading the charge as the Lady Warriors slowly moved away from a 7-5 start and never looked back.

Kasilag finished with 15 points, 14 coming from the attack line, even as Maricar Nepomuceno added 10 points.

Diana Carlos and Issa Molde scored 21 and 13 points, respectively, for UP, which stumbled into 28 errors compared to Pocari’s 20.

In men’s play, Berlin Paglinawan exploded with 20 points highlighted by 19 hits as Sta. Elena whipped Insituto Estetico Manila, 25-16, 25-20, 25-21.

The Wrecking Balls dominated the Phoenix Volley Masters on all fronts including in attacks (45-33), blocks (4-3), and service aces (6-2), as well as in digs (50-32).

Greg Dolor and Kurt Rosete finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively, in a losing cause for IEM.

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