A series of heartcrushing setbacks served as a motivation for Pocari Sweat to be hungry for its second title in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference.
At first, the Lady Warriors struggled.
They opened their campaign with a couple of defeats as they were trying to search for a leader following the exit of former skipper Michele Gumabao.
It took quite a while before Pocari Sweat recovered.
The Lady Warriors managed to win six straight games in the preliminaries with local top hitter Myla Pablo carrying all the cudgels due to the absence of their imports Edina Selimovic and Michelle Strizak because of international transfer certificate (ITC) woes.
With only one reinforcement left in Strizak, Pocari Sweat suddenly dropped a pair of crucial matches after Pablo suffered back pain injury and Selimovic did sustain a torn hamstring that sent her out of the season.
Selimovic had to be replaced by Krystal Rivers, a product of University of Alabama who is known for her scoring prowess.
Unfortunately, Rivers also failed to see action due to the same ITC woes.
The Lady Warriors went through a tough road to the title as they have to contend in the round-robin quarterfinals together with Creamline, Perlas, and Philippine Air Force.
Pocari Sweat endured all the humps and bumps until it made it to the semifinals against the Power Smashers, a same squad that dominated them early in the tourney.
Rivers, for one, came in time for the finals to reinforce the shorthanded Lady Warriors.
She proved to be as good as advertised.
And while they are only a win away from defending their crown, BaliPure was there to spoil it in Game 2 of their best-of-three title showdown.
The Purest Water Defenders forced a rubber match.
Despite losing in Game 2, Pocari Sweat marched into the warzone oozing with confidence. It may had a shaky start in Game 3, but all of its failures drove the Lady Warriors to be more resilient until they formally completed their title defense.
They conquered all the challenges ahead of them.
With that, they’re still the queens of the PVL and they are so close to win their fourth title when the All-Filipino Conference unwarps in the next two weeks.
After a grueling journey, head coach Rommel Abella took a deep sigh of relief.
Finally, it’s over.
Finally, they made it.
[quote]”Sa sobrang daming adversities na pinagdaanan ng team, sila yung talaga ‘yung nag-step up sa leadership role na kailangan ng team.”[/quote]
[quote]”Going to the finals, mas naging vocal si Mel, mas naging showy si Gyzelle, everybody including Myla nag-step up din sa leadership.”[/quote]
[quote]”‘Yun ang hinahanap namin sa kanila from the start of the conference, na everybody has to ship in. Mabuti na lang na lumabas ngayon towards the end of the conference.”[/quote]
The smile on Abella’s face was sweet.
But the shiny golden crown on their heads was even sweeter.
It was the product of blood, tears and, yes, sweat.