The ladies of Pocari Sweat are heading to the happiest place on Earth.
Minutes after Pocari outpaced Air Force in the race to the 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference title, its team manager Eric Ty gladly announced that there will be a well-deserved reward for his hardworking crew.
“We are going to Hong Kong Disneyland!” he exclaimed.
The Lady Warriors’ road to the top was far from easy as they faced tough competition from the semis to the finale from both powerhouse squads Bali Pure and Air Force, respectively.
In both rounds, Pocari found itself in a 0-1 deficit before stepping on high gear to turn back the opponents by winning Games 2 and 3.
“Itong season na ito, even before it started akala ko stillborn na itong team na ito. I was having a hard time recruiting players pero we persevered. We talked to the existing core tapos naghatak kami ng mga bago,” Ty shared, talking about the struggles of coming up with a competitive team.
“After 3 years, there is nothing that can describe the experience. Tagal namin itong hinintay. It’s beyond masarap and exhillirating. Hindi mo ma-describe pero sobrang high nung feeling talaga,” he added.
While the Lady Warriors’ lineup was already loaded having the likes of Myla Pablo, Michele Gumabao and Melissa Gohing, the management knew they needed more firepower to put up a good fight against other teams.
Then came former PLDT Home Ultera spiker Elaine Kasilag.
“We struck gold kay Elaine Kasilag,” the head honcho said. “Binabangko siya and hindi siya ginagamit ng dati niyang team. Nahanap namin siya. Kinausap namin siya. Sabi namin: ‘Elaine, itong team na ito papahalagahan ka namin. We know your value. You are championship material. With you with us, and Myla Pablo and Michele Gumabao, we will be champions.’”
In awe of Kasilag’s 15 points and clutch plays, he adds: “Buti na lang um-oo si Kasilag. From now on, she will sign a five-year contract and she will be the first to have that contract and hinding hindi na aalis ‘yan sa amin.”
Before changing the name of the squad, it first spent a couple of years playing at the Philippine SuperLiga where it failed to win a title.
Asked what the team did differently to finally get its first-ever championship trophy, the proud manager reiterated how they are more of a family than a team.
“It’s more like we developed into a family. Itong team na ito, Michele had the opportunity to bond them all together with her. We adapted the status of a family. We prayed to God. And through that, dun kami nadala sa championship,” he closed. — By Mac Dionisio