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BanKo-Pocari duel nears | Inquirer Sports

Banko-Perlas and Pocari Sweat-Air Force took advantage of furious starts on Sunday, besting their seeded rivals blunted by long rests to move a win each from a championship showdown.

BanKo-Perlas defeated second seed PayMaya, while Pocari swept top ranked Creamline in the opener of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference bst-of-three semifinal series at Filoil Flying V Centre.

The Perlas Spikers doused the High Flyers’ late-set rally to post a 25-19, 26-28, 25-23, 25-23 win.

Earlier, the Pocari Lady Warriors displayed the brand of game worthy of the defending champions that they are, crushing the off-form Cool Smashers, 25-23, 25-12, 25-23.

While Creamline and PayMaya reaped the benefits of making the Final Four outright, Perlas and Pocari have chances of setting up a “championship of the underdogs’ if they take the clincher in Wednesday’s Game 2.

“If we play the same game we played today where we are relaxed and just enjoyed the match, we will overcome the semifinals,” said Perlas’ Thai import Jutarat Montripila.

Montripila exploded with 31 points to negate the 30-point explosion of PayMaya import Tess Rountree.

Pocari, having a tough time all conference after losing key players to other teams, pounced on a Creamline squad that came off a three-week lay-off.

Pocari coach Jasper Jimenez credited their big opening set which threw off Creamline’s composure.

“I think Creamline wasn’t used to trailing, because all conference they are usually leading,” said Jimenez in Filipino. “So our first set proved to be a big factor because we didn’t need to adjust that much.”

Earlier, defending men’s champion Cignal clamped down on PLDT Home Fibr’s hitters to pound out a 25-22, 25-20, 26-24 decision in their own playoffs.

Five-time UAAP MVP Marck Espejo fired 20 points for the HD Spikers.

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