Die Another Day: Pocari outsteadies Bali Pure anew to force Game 3

Pocari Sweat wanted to die another day. 

The Lady Warriors flashed nerves of steel in the final set to eke out a pulsating 5-set victory over Bali Pure and force a winner-take-all Game 3 in the 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference semifinals Saturday night.

Facing a wild and roaring crowd at the jampacked FilOil Flying V Centre, both squads slugged it out, putting on a show that had the thousands of people in attendance on their feet throughout the long-drawn match.

In the end, however, it was Pocari Sweat who stood tall, pushing the Purest Water Defenders to frustration in the most crucial of times.

Myla Pablo shut her haters up with a brilliant 26-point performance, terrorizing Bali Pure’s defense from all angles to lead all scorers and top superstar Alyssa Valdez, who had 24 markers.

Elaine Kasilag added 17 points while team captain Michele Gumabao showcased her uncanny leadership and delivered a triple-double of her own with 12 points, 13 digs and 11 excellent receptions.

Even with rock-solid numbers from their ‘Big Three,’ the Lady Warriors encountered rough sailing, as the Water Defenders forcefully took the second set before snatching the fourth.

But Pocari Sweat’s blocking and timely fifth-set digging heroics from Melissa Gohing proved to be the death knell for Bali Pure, who surrendered the match-clinching service ace after a miscommunication that typified their lackluster night.

Valdez also contributed 15 excellent receptions while Grethcel Soltones scored 16 points, 10 digs and 11 excellent receptions for the Water Defenders.

Game 3 is set on Monday, 6pm at the Philsports Arena, with the winner earning the right to take on Air Force in the championship round. — By Josiah Albelda